Being kind of a "solutions" guy, my first reaction was to think about ways to shorten a sales cycle. Fortunately, I didn’t just sit down and start writing the typical 10 Ways to Shorten Your Sales Cycle article. I think that would have yielded some bad advice.
Instead I stepped back and thought about the real goal of sales–revenue. Think about it. Does your sales manager really care about how long sales cycles are if you’re consistently hitting revenue targets? No.
So, let’s talk about things that help you hit revenue more often.
Shorter Sales Cycles Don’t Get You More Sales
Sales cycles have little or nothing to do with sales revenues. Many traditional measurements sales managers track have little to do with revenue. Things like sales cycles, fall-out rates, call volumes, and all the other little measurements are used to diagnose problems. They help managers identify people that need their help.
For you, as a sales person, these measurements are of little value. They may even be counterproductive–causing you stress, sapping your confidence, and certainly focusing you on the wrong sales activities.
Good Conversation Get You More Sales
Think about this: When was the last time a sale dropped into your lap? I mean truly fell out of the sky–you never called them, emailed them, met them, engaged them with social media, or were referred by a client or friend.
In the real world, pennies from heaven rarely fall.
That means at some point you had to have had a good conversation, with someone. This is why I argue that increasing your sales has everything to do with increasing your good conversations.
Using Social Media to Increase Targeted Conversations
Notice I keep using the phrase: good conversation. I think there is an important distinction to be emphasized here.
I can sit in the coffee shop all day and have conversations. However, I doubt that’s going to help my sales (unless I run a coffee shop).
This is where social media can be a real force multiplier for your sales. I can get pretty precise in targeting my conversations at prospects.
Here are some places and ways I like to generate good conversation with social media:
- Search Twitter for keywords and trigger phrases
- Join relevant Linkedin Groups
- Participate in Linkedin Answers
- Comment on relevant (industry) blogs
Each of these venues gives you quick and relevant ways to start good conversations.
How and where do you start good sales conversations?