Social media is a powerful business tool for three things and three things only:

  1. Search engine optimization. Use your key words and raise your presence on the Web.
  2. Find out who people are. Learn about a person’s background and your connections.
  3. Find out who people know. Look for close connections you can leverage.

Technology won’t save our sales career. Our smartest, tried-and- true business development, lead-generation, deal-closing tool has always been ourselves.

The Web won’t deliver world peace or cure the common cold. It won’t fix our business development, sales or customer-relationship management challenges. Who really seals the deal? You do.

Data abounds. It’s overwhelming: websites, e-mail, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds, virtual group conversations. How do you make sense of it all? And who helps you decide where to put your energy? I’ll bet it’s a real person–a trusted friend, colleague or mentor. Your social networks help you narrow down your options, but there’s nothing like the one-on-one conversation to make the difference in your sales. My colleague Jim Blasingame says, “Face-to-face is the original social media.” I couldn’t agree more.

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Joanne Black is a professional sales speaker, sales webinar leader, and author of “No More Cold Calling: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust” from Warner Business Books. Visit www.nomorecoldcalling.com.