Your Best Pitch
Sandwiched between cold-calling and name-dropping there is some room for social media. However, it's not the most important thing when it comes to nabbing the sale.
"I would differentiate between professional or business social media services like LinkedIn and personal ones like Facebook," Henry remarked. "Since I sell business-to-business, services like LinkedIn coupled with professional blogs make a great deal of sense and is a good business investment; for people selling business-to-consumer, Facebook and Twitter might be more relevant. In the end, it all depends on your audience and what social media services they use."
Gotschall said there are definitely pros and cons to using social media.
"Social media is another tool of exposing and marketing a business and its product or service offerings," she noted. "However, it depends on the nature of the business and its target audience. I think the social media sites are probably more applicable to companies promoting their business to the private consumer. Many companies block social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, so I believe those ways of connecting with the typical business client are not quite as effective as they are to a private consumer. Social media can be a useful tool for offering company specials, dispersing or discussing industry knowledge or current events, or introducing a new product or service."
But, what about younger salespeople who depend too much on technology?
Henry advised them to get out from behind their computer and start talking and listening. Instead, he encouraged them to participate in every networking meeting, conference, tradeshow and regional seminar around.
"You also need to join local entrepreneur and business development groups and actively participate. Put in speaker applications everywhere, but offer a refined message that doesn't sell your product/service, but gives away something of value instead. Once you build credibility in the marketplace as the go-to person for industry information and advice, customers will not only come to you, but they will refer you as well," he said.