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Social Selling: How Being Social Affects Your Prospects

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Think that social media isn’t for B2B companies like yours? Think again. IBM did it. In fact, IBM reports “one-third of its B2B buyers were already using social media of various kinds.”

Sure, the 54-year-old executive that you negotiate with might not be using Twitter, but the 37-year-old one level below him (who has significant influencing power) is on Twitter… Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, too.

The Lesson? Start Getting Social

It’s time to start getting social.

Here’s what that doesn’t mean: creating a Facebook, Twitter, and other social media profiles just for the sake of having them.

When we say, “get social,” we want to encourage you to learn more about the power of social media in terms of sales. According to a 2012 study by the Aberdeen Group, 56% of sales representatives that used sales intelligence were able to meet or surpass their quotas. Compare that to the mere 26% of sales reps who did the same, but without using sales intelligence.

The sales people using intelligence aren’t necessarily working harder; they’re working smarter.

Of course, we don’t want to confuse “sales intelligence” with “social media” because they’re certainly not one and the same. However, as social media platforms continue to grow, the wealth of information available on these networks is becoming a bigger piece of the “sales intelligence” pie.

Here’s one last impressive fact before we cover how you can get started with social selling: According to another commentary on the Aberdeen Group study, sales reps that use social selling “are 79% more likely to attain their quota than ones who don’t.”

How Your Sales Team Can Be More Social

Here are a few ideas for encouraging social selling that are – at the very least – worth experimenting with:

  • Ask employees to perform “social research” on the buyers and decision-makers they’re targeting.
  • Offer interested employees the chance to spend the first 15-20 minutes of their day building their own professional social network and reaching out to prospective clients through social media channels.
  • Encourage company leaders and employees at all levels to contribute to a company blog. This is a great way to demonstrate thought leadership and have something to share with your online professional community.

Is your sales team using any “social selling” techniques?

Ron Shapiro: A 2013 Champion by Sports Business Journal

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Ron Shapiro, co-founder and Chairman of Shapiro Negotiations Institute (SNI), was recently featured as one of the Sports Business Journal’s 2013 class of The Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business. The article details Shapiro’s accomplishments, experience, and expertise in both the sports and corporate world.   To read the full article, click the link below.

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2013/02/04/Champions/Ron-Shapiro.aspx

 

Along with the article above, the Sports Business Journal also featured the story of his first contract with Brooks Robinson. The story can be found here: http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2013/02/04/Champions/Shapiro-contract.aspx?hl=Champions&sc=0. Some of the valuable lessons he learned from this contract are still applicable in teaching training sessions today.

How Important Is Client Satisfaction?

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No matter what field your business is in, there’s no such thing as a one-time customer. Even if you’re in the business of selling caskets, you know that a one-time client can become a repeat client with the right amount of work.

What exactly is “the right amount of work” you need to get repeat clients? It all starts with high client satisfaction rates. As a performance improvement firm, we’re in the business of helping our clients make the most of their clients and employees.

We’ve come to the conclusion that the old business adage is true: 80% of your revenues come from just 20% of your clients (the Pareto Principle). While you obviously want to satisfy every single client that your business serves, it’s especially important that you satisfy that top 20%.

Achieving Perfect Client Satisfaction…

… is virtually impossible. And that’s okay. Over the years we have worked with some incredible business leaders and business models. Despite impeccable customer service, even the very best businesses were unable to make 100% of their clients happy 100% of the time. In some instances, a good business leader will make the decision to cut loose those clients that can never be satisfied.

There’s no sense in wasting energy on those clients who will not be satisfied despite your best efforts. So what can you do to improve client satisfaction where it is possible?

 

  • Respond to dissatisfied customers in real-time. There are numerous reputation management software programs and systems that can alert you immediately about dissatisfied customers.
  • Let the client know that you understand their issue by repeating it back to them.
  • Use a personal tone to deal with clients who are dissatisfied.
  • Never make a promise that can’t be kept – even when you feel under pressure to recover a bad situation.
  • Go over and above what you deem “satisfactory” in resolving a customer’s bad experience.
  • Keep a regularly updated database of your client’s satisfaction history. Good or bad, you need to know how a client has felt about your company’s treatment of them in the past.

Remember, you can’t please everyone. But, of the clients you can please, anything you can do to keep the account is worth it. Good “client satisfaction practices” don’t just keep the client you’re dealing with. They also bring in additional clients through referrals and recommendations!

How important is client satisfaction to your business? What strategies do you use to satisfy your clients?

 

 

How to Maintain Your Business Relationships

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We recently wrote a blog post about building and developing strong business relationships. We covered some strategies for reaching out to people, and turning ‘contacts’ into ‘relationships’. Now, as we step into 2013, let’s take a closer look at some strategies for maintaining those business relationships.

5 Tips for Maintaining Relationships in 2013

  • Do yourself a huge favor. Write down the name of every business relationship you want to maintain in 2013. We can guarantee you that if you don’t write down names, you’ll get to the end of 2013 and have completely forgotten several people on the list.
  • Be a listener. In November, we covered the importance of listening to other people. It turns out that it’s a great way to maintain business relationships, too. Entrepreneur.com recommends listening as a key strategy to maintaining business relationships. When you listen, you know the right questions to ask a person, which everyone appreciates.
  • Create an ‘Editorial Calendar’ for sending out emails, making phone calls, and touching base with the contacts on your list. When you plan out time for calling a business contact, it’s much more likely to happen. Also, you’ll avoid that awkward feeling of calling up for a favor when you haven’t even spoken to the person in 11 months.
  • Though the editorial calendar is important, you don’t want to be robotic (which won’t happen anyways if you’re following the tip about listening). Make your correspondence unique. It’s fine to send out a monthly newsletter – just don’t assume that it takes the place of maintaining a relationship. When it comes to relationships with the customers and colleagues that are important to you, form letters and mass emails won’t cut it. Reach out on a personal level to the people on your list this year.
  • Lastly, don’t be objective-oriented. If you’re always thinking, “What am I getting out of this relationship?” then you’ll give up on half of them before the year is out. You might invest yourself in a relationship for 8 months – or years – before it’s of any practical “business use” to you. Don’t give up. The payoff will come with time – often in the most unexpected way. And, if not? Well… sometimes a relationship is its own reward!

What do you plan on doing to maintain your business relationships in 2013?