Salesmanship is both a science and a form of art. While the end goal is to convince buyers to purchase services and products, the journey from the moment of knowing a brand to the point of purchase is a long and interesting journey. As a matter of fact, someone by the name of Elias St. Elmo Lewis developed a model called the sales funnel to map how consumers learn about a brand, become interest and decide to buy a product or service.
While the traditional methods of sales dictate physical contact and persuasion with customers, human civilization has evolved beyond that. In today’s digital age, we now rely on sales pitches online and digital marketing to generate income for our businesses. This is definitely new terrain with a lot of room for experimentation, especially when we talk about how social media figures into business sales funnels.
I often liken the sales funnel process to falling in love. A person is often oblivious to the time they start paying particular attention to another. Once they get hooked, however, they feel addicted and try to pursue whoever they think deserves their undying affection. While there aren’t any romantic emotions involved when transacting business, the process is the same. One someone is aware of how good an existing product is, they become interested. When they aspire to own it, they often go out of their way to respond to a specific call of action.
Social media is a virtual space where people share their lives and make friends. Users upload photos of themselves and what interests them, rant about how they feel and even go as far as pry into other’s closets. Sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are avenues for people to hangout in while Linked has developed a more serious culture. The consensus is often that users generally don’t intend to purchase products and services.
Nonetheless, social media can be used to leverage your business if used properly. What you have to do is give your brand a “human face”. People want to interact with online identities that answer big problems. Get to know what keeps your target audience ticking and awake at night.
From time to time, you can use social media to create and grow your email list. These networks are good for making potential clients aware of what you offer. Try offering something of great value for free in exchange for an email address. Hold contests, interview people, give out discounts and giveaway fun facts to keep passersby interested. As much as possible, be subtle about how you talk with online users. Once you do have their emails, you can begin personalizing your approach and draw them in your business agenda.
Social media can be useful in introducing your products and services but it is always a good practice to keep your expectations grounded in reality. What I’m trying to say is that it helps your business relate to the fabric of people’s interests but it doesn’t offer miracles unlike direct selling. Over the year, researchers have found out that it keeps people attached to your product or service but it is strongest only at that level of engagement. Perhaps you could even say that it takes care of the uppermost tier of the sales funnel but doesn’t guarantee that potential clients end up through the doorway towards a purchase.