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How Relationship-Based Sales Professionals Should Use Social Media

Beyond • May 2, 2012

Social media isn’t just for marketing. Now, it’s equally as important to use the medium for sales. A relationship-based sales professional should be using social media to enhance communication. If you doubt that sales can use social media, then consider that more customer service platforms designed exclusively for sales are now also including social media in their networks – like Zoho CRM. If you take a closer look, you’ll see that almost all the more elite systems of social media monitoring, CRM, branding, intelligence and outreach also market to sales professionals. And the smart teams and companies are responding because they know the industry has changed dramatically. Old modes of communication clearly have changed. If you want to send an effective message to someone, you most likely mail the letter. So do you email the message or hand deliver it? If you’re looking to build business, do you even try cold calling? How effective are these modes of communication? Mailing the letter will cost you money in supplies including letterhead, envelopes, ink and stamps. Cold calling costs in the time it takes to blindly reach out to people. These methods weren’t that effective pre-social media, and so they’re likely to be even less effective now. And if you’re going to try and cold call, you’re going to offend people with a lack of creativity and trying to assume they have time to hear from someone they don’t know and did not solicit. If you’re persistent though, there is no question you will get business out of the aforementioned modes of communication. Sales is a numbers game, but why use a means that isn’t effective or efficient? Why make an effort to reach out to 100 people to maybe have one person say yes while the other 99 now don’t respect you or worse have already forgotten you? Chances are that the traditional letter that you mailed is going to get thrown in the trash. So what can you do? You go where people are consuming and communicating their information. You go to the social networks! People are communicating through social networks. They want to connect. They want to link up with you on LinkedIn. They want you to talk with them on Twitter. They want to connect and see who you are and what you care about on Facebook. They want useful information to share; they want to see the old way of doings things repackaged into a creative way of doing things. They want you to make them care and get them excited. The important part for a sales person to realize is that social can be used for business. With social, there is so much relevant public information out there that allows you to approach your prospect more effectively – and with higher success rates. To do this, you need to develop and brand an informed persona and craft custom messages. Create messages your customer can’t say no to. This method allows you to approach higher quality prospects and turn them into well-qualified leads and more importantly clients. And you can start right here. Start by sharing this post across your social networks. But don’t just post it without adding something unique that tells people about you and your business – always offer your own thoughts to make a shared post unique and get people to look at you.


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Financial Social Media Marketing 101

Beyond • April 20, 2012

What is Social Media? Can you define it? Social media is the virtual hub for real life conversation, and social networks grant users access to those channels. Social Media = Real Life Communications Social Networks = Access What you do with that access is up to you. In the case of a financial advisor, the firm they represent controls and limits that worldwide access. So what does that mean for a financial advisor? Social networks are simply a more efficient means to communication. Social media doesn’t replace the old modes of communication; it’s a vital asset to them. It’s the last tool that needs to be added to the tool belt for an advisor to truly be a craftsman, if their firms would only let them… With this limitation, financial advisors are in the social media marketing stone age. Most advisors at large financial institutions are limited in the way they can communicate with their clients. Yes they can pick up the phone and call, but the chance someone will answer on the other end and have time for a chat is marginal at best; they can send an email, but then you’re waiting for a reply – if it comes; they can mail a letter, but there’s a good chance it’ll get thrown out as unsolicited marketing material. Now if only they could use social media to market and communicate to their clients the way clients now want to be communicated with. Financial firms use the FINRA and SEC regulation as the biggest objection for not letting their representative advisors communicate with clients and prospects. How can we actively monitor and archive all of their conversations? Thanks to technology, there are many companies that do this effectively. Some companies like Actiance already monitor their email system; it’s no different than blasting out emails to prospects, or having a one to one conversation with a prospect on social media. Financial firms can remain compliant yet socially viable with systems like Radian6, Hearsay Social, Socialware, Arkovi, Linkedfa, Smarsh, Backupify; the list goes on and on. So the real reason isn’t regulation, it’s brand reputation concerns, time training requirements along with education and understanding gaps. But trusted and reputable financial giants have hired financial advisors to represent them, so they need to train them and trust them to grow the business to everyone’s benefit and satisfaction, including the clients.


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