Are You Still Selling to Strangers?

Patricia Sherlock

Are you still selling to strangers? This might sound like an odd statement to say to originators who are tasked with generating business any way they can including doing business with people they don’t know. Instead, what I am talking about is that in today’s sales environment, there is no reason to make cold calls and sell to strangers. Social media — in particular, Facebook — has dramatically changed how we connect with family, friends and yes, prospects!

In my opinion, Facebook should be part of every originator’s personal outreach to prospects and customers. The Facebook stats tell the story about its importance and why it should be incorporated into the selling process.

Recent data published by research firm DMR reveals the platform’s influence:

•  1.65 billion monthly active users

•  1.09 billion daily active users

•  Average number of Facebook friends for females: 166

•  Average number of Facebook friends for males: 145

•  Average time spent on Facebook: 20 minutes each day

•  Percentage of Gen Y that use Facebook: 91%

I could go on about Facebook’s stats but I think that you get the point. Facebook is clearly the new telephone and should be a critical part of a salesperson’s arsenal. I know there will be some who say they want to keep their personal and business lives separate or they don’t see the importance and don’t want to bother but I think that originators who ignore this opportunity are losing out.

Like the telephone, which brought people together over long distances, Facebook is not only bridging physical distance but has even collapsed time. For example, in the past, if you moved from where you were originally born, your neighborhood friends in most cases would be lost forever. Now, with Facebook, anyone is a click away if you make the effort. I would even point out that Facebook and other social media tools are fundamentally changing how we relate to each other.

In a great article in Social Media Examiner by Dr. Rachna Jain, he states that “social media is changing our relationship styles in important ways. The most important is that it allows you to connect with more people.” Jain cites Pierre Bourdieu, a French sociologist who studied how people have historically gained social currency. One way they did this was by having large networks that were loosely organized and not particularly intimate. This finding according to Jain has been supported in many industries, which demonstrates that those who attain top leadership positions tend to have broad social networks. He observed that with an increased number of connections, a person will have access to more ideas and resources. This can be a tremendous competitive advantage.

From an originator’s perspective, selling to strangers really is passé because the new technology allows originators to share their total self quickly with customers and prospects resulting in a more trusting bond.<

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