Selling social media: How to win over the social-media sceptics

Image by missy & the universe via Flickr

Hello, and welcome to my first post. Over the next few weeks I hope to bring an insight into the world of social media from a unique perspective, how to sell the proposition to an often sceptical and always value-conscious audience.

You may be selling social media as a social media agency to a client (‘outside-in’); or maybe internally within your organisation to a senior manager, stakeholder, or steering committee (‘inside-in’). Whichever your focus, the positioning is the same, and I will summarise a process that really works.

First, a bit about me, my last 20 years has been in IT sales. I started at IBM, achieving a top grade within IBM Sales School, and after 12 years in the company I progressed to sales management. My subsequent roles after leaving IBM (in telco, services, and web cms software) have remained in sales and/or sales management, and they have always been fascinating and rewarding. I have no doubt that the root cause of continued sales success has been the selling basics that I learned from IBM, at IBM Sales School. And it’s a bit like riding a bike, once learned you never forget how to do it.

A salesman is an often maligned role, with connotations of annoying double-glazing people that telephone or call your house at highly inappropriate times, but the truth is far more palatable. In fact, as you develop and hone your skills, you learn that the ‘consultative sale’ is the key to success. The consultative sell requires you to understand the client (note ‘client’ – not ‘customer’ – there is a distinction in relationship), such that your proposition matches his or her needs. Put yourself in their shoes. What (if anything!) do they need, and why? Get to know them and what makes them tick. What are their objections, and are they real or hiding something deeper? And once that is achieved, then you are not a threat to your client, but an ally and possibly even a friend (or, at the least, a ‘trusted advisor’).

I have been selling IT services and solutions for over 20 years, and the fundamentals of success in social media selling are exactly the same as those that have driven me in my previous sales roles.

Over the next few posts, I’ll summarise some key techniques that work, and (more importantly) those to avoid to help you whether you are selling social media to clients or to your internal stakeholders.

Read all our posts on Selling social media here.

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One Comment

  1. Akash Sharma:

    Brilliant post,I have read a lot about sales techniques but this is for the first time I witnessed the relationship between social media and sales management.
    I would look forward to your future posts to learn how to sell social media.

    Thanks again !!

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