Social media plays a huge role in our current sales and marketing landscape. BUT…if you have anything other than an internet-based business, you had better become reacquainted with the importance of old-fashioned sales skills, the kind that existed well before Mark Zuckerberg made his mark or LinkedIn became the darling of business prospectors.

  • In most businesses, it is people that woo, wow and win clients and if you get lost in the land of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, you might find yourself with less business that you might have had if only you had deployed sales best practices.
  • Know the value and improvements that you provide to customers so that you can present these benefits concisely and coherently when engaged in prospecting efforts. To that end, embrace your points of differentiation but be sure that what makes you different is truly what your prospects want and need.
  • Understand the critical importance of effective probing and seek to uncover everything that you possibly can about your prospects and clients. Asking questions helps to gain rapport and is always more insightful than simply checking their status update.
  • Be prepared for pushback and hesitancies. This is especially true during our current economic situation. People are nervous and conservative and it takes extra sales ability to help them say “yes.”
  • While ABC (always be closing) is a clich?, it is certainly important to be proactive when leading your prospect to a “next step” for that is what closing is, simply a next steps scenario of which both you and your prospects are aware
  • Don’t lean on technology instead of the “personal” touch. Make it a point to reach out and call your prospects and customers on a regular basis. Too overwhelmed and busy to make the calls? Break them up into very small allotments. You CAN make 1-3 calls per day, can’t you?

I don’t mean to underestimate the power of social media. As the owner of a small business, I am thrilled that, to a certain extent, it has leveled the marketing playing field. But people do business with people and when companies forget that, all the social media in the world won’t save them.

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Adrian Miller is the founder of Adrian Miller Sales Training. To find out more or to visit her blog go to: http://adrianmiller.wordpress.com.