Can you imagine the perfect sales call?

Imagine phoning a prospect. Imagine that they are happy, even eager, to take your call. They know all about you. They understand why you should both be talking. They may even have particular needs or projects they wish to discuss with you.

Social media can create sales call like thisphone

In the first article of this series, we discussed how social media fits into the sales cycle. We saw that social media is an excellent way to engage with your connections and create warm prospects. We also saw that to move people from social media connections into hardened sales prospects, you must move them from an online connection (social media) to an offline connection (real life). In my last article I showed you how to choose the right social media connections to focus these sales efforts on.

Today we are going to look at how to move them into real life connections. It’s important to transition these connections correctly. They may take it the wrong way if you suddenly start hitting them with a sales pitch straight away. And then you would have wasted all your efforts in creating a warm prospect through social media.

Can’t you just sell on social media?

I have occasionally had success using just social media. However, in my experience, the huge majority of B2B customers will require a direct approach in order to make a successful sale.

With that in mind, here are four strategies that can be used to move a social media connection into real life.question

1.) Creating dialogue through questions

If you have a prospect that seems engaged, try starting a dialogue with them.

Remember, the dialogue should be about them. Ask them about themselves or their business (just as you would in a face-to-face conversation). You could respond to content that they have shared or comments they have made. Once this becomes a two-way dialogue, it is easy to suggest taking the conversation to e-mail or phone.

Once conversation is progressing, you can decide between you and your connection if there is a sales opportunity worth pursuing.

2.) Getting to know your calls

I often reach out to engaged prospects in this way. I suggest that we have a conversation to get to know each other better and see if there are ways we can help each other. Oftentimes, there is something that each individual can benefit from. Many people are happy to take me up on this offer.

The aim of this conversation is to stay away from sales! I like to have these conversations on Skype so that they are as near face-to-face as possible. I always try to start by making the conversation all about the other person. I also try to offer ways in which I can help them which are not about selling my services.

I am always surprised by how many of these conversations do reveal sales opportunities. I never start these conversations with sales in mind or on the agenda. But opportunities often arise. They are usually suggested by the other person, which makes life a lot easier!

3.) Inviting prospects to meet at eventsevent

This is a great way to have a lot of ‘getting to know you’ conversations in one day. Whenever I am going to an event, I message all my relevant social media contacts and ask if they are attending and would like to meet with me. Sometimes I have missed the opportunity to see an event because I have been in back-to-back meetings!

4.) Holding your own event

Creating your own event can be another effective way to get to meet social media connections in real life. Make sure the event focuses on customer interests, rather than yourself.

Now it’s time for you to reach out to the right social media connections

After my last article, I asked you to create a list of the right prospects to engage with. Now I want you to pick a couple of prospects from the list and move the conversation offline, using one of these four strategies.

Naturally, just as in any sales process, you won’t be successful with every prospect. However, your success rate will be much higher than if you use traditional methods to contact cold prospects.

In fact, you may well end up having several of the perfect sales calls that I described at the start of this piece.

Editor’s Note: This post is part of a larger series on how social media can help drive sales for your print business:

PS If you’d like more information on how to use social media effectively to sell printing services, download my free e-guide “Ten Social Media Rules For Print Sales People”. You’ll also receive my regular “Views from the print buyer” bulletin, full of ideas on how to use social media and sell print effectively.