Facebook, Twitter, and the Blogsophere. Not just for dicking around
April is quickly coming to a close. This month I have seen the power of social networking on a whole new level. Many times when people say social networking, they think Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and maybe Adult Friend Finder.
Over the past few months I have been experimenting with FaceBook and Twitter as a sales tool. I have been in sales for quite some time. From my days as a showing intern on a radio sales call, to slinging checking accounts and Home Equity Lines of Credit, to selling Burgers at Chili's, to selling myself and my ability to give you an unique voice for your commercial, to now cell phone solutions, I have tried it all. I have been to formal networking organizations, to just calling my friends to help me out.
Out of all of these ways to grow your influence, grass roots self promotion has always worked for me. I learned a long time ago that embracing your company's business model is the key to success. No matter the industry, no matter the product, embracing your company's model is your key. The best advice I have ever heard also ties into that, once you stop drinking the kool-aide, leave. Quit. Do something else.
Now with this economic panic, the slow nationalization of our auto industry [RT @SenJohnMcCain President purposes government/union takeover of GM and Chrysler – Lenin would be smiling...] getting an edge in the sales business is how you continue to grow. Many people spend their time calling cold calls trying to find that one person who needs a new phone, and they are banging their head against the wall. They are meeting answering machines, and leaving voicemails that no one is going to listen to. They stagnate and like lions picking over a dead carcass, they are all feeding on the same dieing animal, the walk-in customer. I won' lie, I have gotten my fair share of walk-ins, but many of my new sales have been from my ability to create my own customer traffic into my store.
I am in retail, I can't leave my store during the day and prospect for new business. So when I am not at work, I am prospecting. That woman holding the iPhone in the grocery store trying to get a signal, I have talked to her, handed her my card, and said, please let me help you. That woman signed on 3 lines this month and got a better phone.
I am giving you the answers to the sales IQ test. Shameless self promotion. This month I have started to really use the technology at my finger tips to make myself money. This month, more than any month prior, I have pulled more new lines of service from my personal network on FaceBook than any other month. I have used Twitter to keep that network briefed on my progress and I have sent up SOS.
This past Friday, as I started to hit the final stretch of the month, I told my network I needed 15 new activations by Tuesday. I asked for help. With in minutes I had Direct Messages in Twitter, FaceBook, and my e-mail with names and phone numbers of people who have been looking. I got a new lead from one person that garnished me 7 new lines of service. That took care of about half of the activations I needed. I got 2 more from another. I one person who added lines on for her parents. This is networking, and shameless self promotion at work.
Last night I drove to Pittsburgh from my home to deliver 2 BlackBerrys to a friend of mine who put me over the edge. I not only hit my goal, but I was put well over the mark and ahead of the other sales reps.
I can remember a few months ago when I was a manger sitting in a meeting sending out FaceBook messages to friends whom I haven't connected with in a while, and I got put on corrective action. Now that I no longer work for that manager, I made sure she knew that I took FaceBook and put it to work for me. I am now making an impact on a team that needed someone to change the game. For the first time in a year, my location is now over their gross activations goal. For the first time in even longer, I am a rep who made 100% to gross activations.
FaceBook and Twitter can be tools. They are also fun ways to keep in contact with your friends, which is the main purpose of these sites. My friends understand what I expect and I make no secrets that I love the company I work for.
If everyone could love their job as much as I love mine.