Internet Marketing, Social Media and Sales

John Hope-Johnstone

Goede middag (good afternoon in Dutch), let’s talk about “sales”. Much has been written about Internet marketing, social media and “sales”. Early blogs commented that social media was of “little” or “no” value to sales. Later blogs said “maybe a little”. Now blogs are beginning to say that Internet marketing and social media do fit nicely into the sales funnel.

You’ll note that we use the term “Internet marketing” and not just social media alone. Why? Well social media is only one part of Internet marketing. Other parts are; 1) e-mail marketing, 2) search engine optimizations, 3) search engine marketing, 4) Internet affiliate marketing and many more. The chart below from the wonderful folks as Advanced Media Productions shows the interlinking of Internet marketing:
As you can see the Internet has developed into a range of marketing tools far more diverse than just social media. Yet the term “Internet marketing” is not widely used.
Which Internet marketing tools fit best with supporting sales, depends on the type of sales.
If you are involved in on-line e-tail sales or a bricks and mortar shop, then e-mail, SEM, affiliate marketing, social media are all definitely valuable Internet marketing tools because you are trying to drive people into your retail shop or onto your e-tail site.
If you are in a sales process that involves a product or service that requires a face to face meeting with a prospect and possibly the negotiation of an agreement, then you would most likely benefit from: 1) e-mail campaigns, 2) a landing capture page, 3) social marketing.
As all salespeople know, prospecting is the very life blood of good sales. Prospecting is the forte of one particular social media platform and that is Linkedin. This platform is not for every type of sales but it covers many sales funnels such as services and higher ticket items.
Let me walk you through how Linkedin can be used as a prospecting tool. My occupation is giving half and full day seminars on Social Media, all over the country and internationally. I present them to corporations as well as associations, Governments and non-profit organizations. When I am not presenting seminars, I am often prospecting for new clients.
I begin by looking for a company, organization, association or Government agency with which I may have a potential relationship. In this demonstrations I will use Four Seasons Hotels. I worked for them back in the 1970s (best company I ever worked for I might add). Also, I have done social media seminars for other hotel companies and therefore can provide testimonials.
Four Seasons Hotels  business is based largely on corporate travel and therefore I am guessing that a high percentage of their clients are already involved in social media.

1: Step one is to see if they are listed on Linkedin as a corporation. It would make life much easier if they were. Go to Linkedin’s search bar and click on the pull down and chose “companies” then type in the company you are looking for. If they are listed then you can find the name of the right individual to turn into a prospect. In this case I have blanked out the name even though you can follow the exercise and find it for yourselves, it is the Regional VP of my area as you can see below:

2: Once you have located a suitable prospect you can find out if you have any contacts in common. This is where Linked comes into its own and a little effort goes a long long way. Look at how many potential contacts I have through Linkedin.
I have only 199 connections BUT they could connect me to nearly two million.

3: Once we have found a suitable prospect (in this case the unnamed regional VP for the West Coast, it is a matter of finding someone to introduce us.
If you have ever tried today to get someone you don’t know to return a phone call, or an email, a letter, or to see you in person if you cold call them,  you will know that it is almost impossible. People are so busy and there are so many avenues to bombard them, that they hunkered down in their bomb shelters and it is very difficult to get through to them.
4: So now I go back to Linkedin and check to see if the Regional VP and myself have any friends in common. Surely of my nearly two million possible connections, there must be someone who knows this person. Low and behold there is! I have again whited out his/her name for the sake of privacy. Better still, it is a first generation contact. Someone I know personally.
5: Now we have three choices: 1) Contact the Regional VP directly through Linkedin, mention the friend in common, cc the friend hoping that he/she will intercede for me or, 2) Email the friend from Linkedin to ask his or her help in contacting the regional VP. After all, just because they show up as knowing each other doesn’t mean they like each other. 3) Add one more step to the process and do a Google research on the Regional VP, which will show the other social media that he/she is using. Go on those social media platforms and see what the VP is all about.
I tend to like to do a little more research by Googling the name of the prospect to see what other social media platforms he/she is on, or to see what press releases or articles, speeches or honors the person might have recently received or given.
6: Then having completed this quick side step, I go back to our friend in common and send him/her a direct message from Linkedin asking if he/she would send an email introducing the Regional VP and myself.
7: Once the introduction e-mail goes out then wait a few days and send your own email to the prospect with a cc to your sponsor thanking him/her for the introduction.
I would suggest starting the subject line of the email with the first name of the person, (on the East coast use the last name), and it might read as follows: “Bill, regarding the introduction from Tom Zyler.”
8: Keep the tone of the email lite and friendly. Don’t hit him/her with heavy sales pitches. Give a short line or two as to how you come to know Tom and how kind it is of him to take the time to introduce the two of you.
9: Let the prospect know what you do and that you would like to see if it might be a good fit for, (in this case), Four Seasons Hotels. Give the prospect a link to your Web site, blog and other information where he can flesh out who you are and what you know. If you have other contacts in common this is a good time to mention them. Also if you found out any recent awards or activities regarding the prospect in your Google research and subsequent social media follow-up this is a nice time to mention it.
10: Inform the prospect that you will contact with them in a week or so to get their “help” in seeing if your service or product will be a good “fit” for their organization and would they take your call.
This system of prospecting using social media works for me time and time again. You will have to refine it to suite your style. If you don’t have a Linkedin account then it will take a short while to build up the connections required for good prospecting but certainly no longer than three or four months.
Well that’s enough for today. More on sales and social media next week.
Thanks for reading this blog. There will be another posted next weekend. I hope we have shed a little light on the subject of social media and sales. If you have any comments or additional tips please leave them in the suggestion box below.
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