Everything that we read today about social sales points to three consistent facts …
- We have moved away from the pitch and instead toward the conversation.
- Buyer behaviors have changed and one of the biggest shifts is that they are doing their own research. In fact, they may have already substantially arrived at their buying decision prior to their ever reaching out to you!
- Educating the buyer, and having the ability to do so on auto-pilot, will be a key element to selling success. When they are conducting their research, will your educational message be found?
There’s blogging …
Because of these changes, I have been a long time-time proponent that salespeople should be, need to be, blogging and that the focus of these efforts needs to be on customer education. Many companies are now recognizing this need to provide a more encompassing service to their potential customers and because of this they are producing educational articles that are not necessarily even focused on their specific product offering but, certainly on their market segment.
This site, for example, is entirely social business education-based and I am only one of a large stable of qualified contributors where each specializes in a specific platform or discipline. While we all have products or services to sell, it would be unusual to see any of us mention those. Instead, we hope that when you think of “expert in their field”, you might think of us and give us a call. Our secret is out.
Then there is vlogging …
There is another channel that you need to pay attention to and that is video. Certainly, it would not be at all unusual for your company, via their marketing department and/or agency, to have produced slick videos touting the benefits of your product or service. That’s great but …these videos probably do not point to YOU and I am guessing that YOU might be your own favorite charity. If you are paid on commissions, this is a given. While they may be educational in nature, there is also a high likelihood that this education is directly related to your specific product or service.
As a salesperson, you are uniquely positioned to tell your story, to educate your customers not only about your products but also about your industry, and to provide them with an invaluable free service. This should be no different than what you do in real life. Adding video to your messaging correlates directly with this tried and true axiom …
“Show me, don’t tell me!”
You do not need to be a videographer or any other kind of “grapher” in order to be successful in this pursuit. If it’s easy enough for an old fogey like me to do it, you will have no challenges at all! I got started with video as more of a curiosity. I became a lot more than curious when the phone began to ring and people told me that they found me on YouTube. Hmmmm.
Creating your video
For the average individual effort, authenticity and content trumps slick and you may even be able to repurpose materials that you have already created. For example, you can take a slideshow or a PDF and upload it to Slideshare or to Google Slides and then turn that presentation into a narrated video. Certainly, this would be a great place to start. Here is a very nice article with some sales-specific suggestions.
I happen to be very fond of Screencast-O-Matic. It’s free for up to 15 minute recordings with some other limitations or you can splurge on the Pro version for a whopping $ 15 per year. Not per month. Per year! Do it! The professional version allows you to integrate live video as either full screen or as a window in the corner of the video so all you need now is a decent HD webcam.
click the image to watch the video
For best results on YouTube, select the HD recording format and shrink your window to size it to fit inside the pre-formatted Screencast-O-Matic frame. Once your video has been recorded, you can edit it, add special effects and, when you are done, it is a one-click upload to many popular services.
Where can you share it?
YouTube is more than a video library. It is also a very popular social channel and, being a part of Google, it will integrate nicely with your other Google products like Google+. You might also correctly assume that Google looks at YouTube … shall we say favorably … in terms of search engine rankings. Get started by creating your own YouTube Channel.
Providing that you have connected your Twitter account, your new videos will be posted to that service as well and you will also want to share your creations on LinkedIn and Facebook as well as on their pertinent groups.
In order to facilitate easier search on YouTube, be sure to place your video in the proper category, have a good description, make liberal use of tags (keywords) and, if your video is a part of a series, create a playlist. Finally, monitor your video(s) for comments and respond to those as a part of your engagement process. If you wish, you can also post your video to other services such as Vimeo.
Now that your video has been made public, also consider …
- Embed your video in a blog article, a website page, or a website sidebar.
- On newsletters, add a thumbnail image from your video that will link to the video itself.
- Add the video as media to your LinkedIn profile and create an article that incorporates your video on LinkedIn Publisher.
- Provide links to your videos (and/or to your YouTube Channel) on your email signature line. For great looking Gmail signatures, I would highly recommend WiseStamp.
- There are also several sales specific tools that are available that will integrate video into your proposals or email blasts. Quote Roller is one such application that will also integrate nicely with many popular CRM products.
Guess what else? At least for me, I might spend several days crafting and editing an article. On the other hand, I can do a ten minute video in … ten minutes. If you are a busy person, and you likely are, you gotta’ love that! On top of that, it’s also a lot of fun!
How about you? Are you doing video now and what have you found to be successful? If video is not something you have tried, what’s holding you back?