Many of our customers and students of the Social Selling University have asked what they should do once they decide that their sales team should leverage social media more during their sales prospecting. We have created a 5 step process that

1. EVALUATE WHAT YOU’RE DOING.
Many people on your team probably already use LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, etc. Take stock of how you’re currently connecting with and listening to customers, and see what seems to be working. Where are you successfully engaging and building relationships with prospects and customers? [tweetmeme source= “insideview” only_single=false]

2. START BY LISTENING.
Just as you wouldn’t run into a cocktail party and start shoving your business card under everyone’s nose, don’t jump on Twitter and start jabbering about your business. Instead, listen to what your target market is saying. Get a sense for who your customers’ mouthpieces are and their communication and interaction styles.

3. SHARE INFORMATION.
Create a way for your team members to share information internally. There are a variety of CRM-compatible tools to facilitate the tracking and sharing of information companywide. So if at a trade show your marketing manager meets a prospect who loves to ride horses, that information can be entered into a collaborative database and used to strengthen ties during follow-up calls.

4. COMMIT TO THE PROCESS.
Building relationships online is not something you can do all at once. Realize you may not see the payoff right away, and commit to three to six months before you evaluate your efforts.

5. COMMIT TO EVOLUTION.
Your team’s social-selling skills will need to evolve with the Web. Prepare to invest time and effort in updating your social- selling strategy, learning about new tools, and keeping skills sharp.

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