Arnold* is the consummate sales professional. In his line of business, he’s a recognized leader and has been aptly nicknamed…you guessed it…the “Terminator”. I recently interviewed him for a project on sales best practices, and was surprised to find that he wasn’t using Facebook to gather intelligence.
LinkedIn was on his radar screen, but he only used Facebook in his personal life. Arnold is not alone. Based on a recent survey**, 96% of salespeople don’t use this valuable source of intelligence!
Below are 3 ways Facebook can increase business development effectiveness:
1. Find shared connections
Facebook identifies shared connections for both friends and non-friends, just like LinkedIn. Knowing this information before meetings has obvious benefits, after all, it’s not what-you-know but who-you-know when it comes to building rapport.
2. Leverage common interests
Facebook shows “Interests” for both friends and non-friends (most of the time). Knowledge of this information significantly increases your chances of establishing genuine connections, but now we can avoid the hit-and-miss practice of fishing for information in the middle of the meeting!
For example, Arnold coaches squash out of a love for the game. The very first time Arnold used Facebook to gather sales intelligence, he discovered that a potential customer shared his passion. As a result, their first conversation revolved around squash, not business, putting him on the path to an authentic relationship. Arnold feels strongly that this foreknowledge accelerated the sales process and, ultimately, helped close the deal.
3. Establish brand
Facebook is a low-cost way to share information and content that establishes your brand. Don’t forget, people use Facebook to do diligence on YOU too! Your personal and company pages are powerful tools to communicate value-added information that establishes your credibility. They are also a channel for customers to voice their needs and requirements, which when addressed, will convert them into champions for you and your business.
Arnold now uses Facebook for every deal, because it works. If you are one of the 96%, it’s time you became a Terminator.
* name changed to protect the innocent
** Survey conducted by FunnelBoard of 43 front-line and senior management level BD professionals from different industries