TALKING SALES 19: "How to engage with clients on social media" - Bernadette McClelland

John Smibert

social-engagementImage:Alan See

24aaeb9In this 4 minute interview Bernadette McClelland explains how to effectively engage with prospective customers using social media.

She starts by explaining (in a very cheeky and engaging way) the importance of a creating a profile that attracts your client.  Then she emphasises the importance of creating value for your prospective client by writing or curating valuable content. She then discusses the need to engage on-line (without selling) and finally to "pop the question" - "ask for the date" which should then be the natural progression.

Bernadette is a sales leadership expert, she helps bridge corporate goals with revenue potential. She's an author of some note and an international keynote speaker.

See more of the 'TALKING SALES' series here

Interview

John: Hello and welcome back! I've got with me again Bernadette McClelland. Bernadette is a sales leadership expert, she helps bridge corporate goals with revenue potential. She's an author of some note and an international keynote speaker. Welcome back, Bernadette!

Bernadette: Thanks, John!

John: Bernadette, last time we spoke about the fact that salespeople need to be much more entrepreneurial, build a personal brand, and go and work on how they create value for the customer independent of the product they sell.

Bernadette: Yeah.

John: You mentioned the word "social" as we were talking about that, so I'd like to explore more what you mean by social and how they use social to do that.

Bernadette: So, social in the context of social media.

John: Yes.

Bernadette: So, with B2B, in our environment, it's LinkedIn predominantly. One thing that you [01:00] can't do is you can't sell, you can't sell on social. So, it's a channel...

John: So why does everybody call it social selling?!

Bernadette: I know! And I don't know, to be quite honest. The way I see social is it's a support for our normal channel of selling, just like email is, face-to-face meetings, direct mail, whatever - it's just another platform. So, the way that I see it-I kind of align it to a romantic relationship, minus the obvious of course. We need to prepare our profile, you know.

John: Right.

Bernadette: So, just like you've got aftershave on and you're looking really dapper, and women put on make-up and all the rest of it - we need to really make sure that our profile is spot on.

John: And focused on our potential customer, and not on who we are and how great we are.

Bernadette: Absolutely. "Top gun for hire!" you know, that's almost like saying "Chick magnet - click here!"

John: Yeah.

Bernadette: So, we don't want to do that.

John: Delete this person.

Bernadette: Absolutely. We've got to be attractive to the [02:00] people that we want to attract, and we've got to be reputable as well. We need to prepare our profile, we need to put ourselves out there - as I've said before - and how we do that is we start to write and we start to curate other people's materials.

John: Which I do a lot. I love doing it -and I learn by doing that too, because I follow 20 or 30 key writers around the world that write brilliant content around sales, and I love sharing that with my target audience, who are salespeople and sales leaders.

Bernadette: And you're clearly providing value to us readers.....

John: So all salespeople need to do that sort of thing is what you're saying.

Bernadette: I believe that the marketing department has a responsibility to actually channel information to the salespeople, but a lot of companies actually stop short with their policies and we put on "No, we're not going to do that." because they're in fear of what the salesperson might put out.

John: Or, they channel product information and product articles rather than [03:00] something of value for the customer.

Bernadette: Absolutely, absolutely. What salespeople need to do is to put themselves out there and create value, and then from an engagement perspective it's almost like "pop the question", so it's connecting with people and actually asking the question; let's catch up for a coffee date, let's catch up on Skype. You know, there's been this toing and froing and you've been able to provide value and allow people to begin to trust you, know you and like you, and so that's how relationships are built. But keep in mind, there's still no selling.

John: So, we don't sell on social media but we do engage on social media.

Bernadette: Totally engage on social media, and then it's like any relationship. Relationships 101: you know, us women love attention, and you guys love appreciation.

John: [laughs]

Bernadette: So, you know, what we've got to do is we've got to make sure that we show appreciation and give attention to those people. Whether that's endorsing them, providing recommendations, connecting this one up with that one. [04:00]

John: Yeah, being a good networker.

Bernadette: Absolutely. Totally, totally.

John: Bernadette, I love what you're saying and I love the concept that we're talking about, social engagement rather than social selling, it really makes a lot of sense to me for B2B salespeople.

Bernadette: Without a doubt.

John: Thanks for your advice, I look forward to the next time we get together!

Bernadette: My pleasure, John - thank you!

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See more of the 'TALKING SALES' series here

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