Today’s customer is extremely well-informed because of the Internet. Far more information is available now than when I was growing up in the pre-Internet age. Content marketing is used effectively to inform and educate our prospects.
In 2015, marketers and salespeople need to step back in time and use an age-old technique if they are to be successful. Social selling must have a strong place in their strategy.
Social selling promotes the salesperson’s personal brand. Personal brands are oft forgotten in the Internet world. While online marketing has increased our market reach, it has at the same time limited our vision. We know more people…but know less about them.
It’s time to get introduced.
Social selling in the pre-internet era
Back in my day, social selling and social networking took place in the beauty salons, barbershops, hardware stores and even in the farmer’s field. A lot of “content marketing” was carried out leaning on a fence post or standing in the freshly plowed dirt. The farmers’ co-op rep and the landowner discussed new techniques for soil amendment, improved seed hybrids and animal care.
The representative knew the farmer’s family by name. He knew their birthdays and you could count on a card arriving in the mailbox or post office box. The rep became someone the farmer could get to know, like and trust.
It’s time for marketers to use social media for more than just selling their wares out of the back of the wagon. Social media, when coupled with social listening, moves you beyond the “ideal” customer persona and puts a face and personality to your “real” customer.
Social media listening is a valuable tool that tells you what your prospects’ challenges are, where they are in the customer journey, and what they’re saying about your competition…and you.
Shotgun blast content is no longer valid. To provide the correct answers, you must first know the real questions. Become a valued, likeable expert before the sale…and your customer will trust you when the time is ready for the sale.