Welcome to The Pipeline.

4 Ways Social Media Can Help You Sell3

Pic october 15

The Pipeline Guest Post – Megan Totka

An essential part of the sales process is getting to know your prospects and building relationships – and social media is the perfect avenue to help you accomplish this effectively. Social media is a really powerful tool to help you accomplish your business goals and can open you up to new markets you may otherwise not have the ability to reach. It’s also an inexpensive way to market your products, services and brand – and small business owners always want to know ways to build a business on a budget.

So how can you use social media to make sales and increase your bottom line? Consider these four ways to help you leverage social media as a way to build relationships and make more sales.

Determine the best way to connect with prospects.
Prior to using social media to make sales, you need to know your client base. Social media is only a smart selling tool if your clients and prospects are using it. I they are spending their time somewhere else, social media is a waste of your time.
It’s likely your prospects are using at least one of the popular sites though, so try to identify which is the best for connecting and interacting with them.

Consider Instagram and Pinterest to increase visibility and sales. Do more than simply post about your products. Engage with the community, present products in fun ways and offer images and posts that appeal to the lifestyle of your prospective user too.

Build relationships.
Everyone wants to know some ways to get more appointments in less time. Salespeople need to always remember that they need to develop relationships more than to develop leads. Good relationships foster sales. Statistics from the National Sales Executive Association show that only 2 percent of sales are made on the first contact, while 80 percent are made on the fifth to twelfth contact. People share information about themselves, and if you truly listen to what they are saying, you will eventually engage in a meaningful conversation with them.

Engage in conversation.
If you write a message with a generic pitch and a link to your website hoping for a sale, you better not have all of your eggs in one basket. People aren’t interested in sales pitches. They want to know you care. Explain some solutions to their problem and suggest that maybe your product or service can help them. Let people know you genuinely care about their problems.

Another way to do this is by creating a Facebook group related to your product or service and invite prospects to join. You can engage in conversation on your page and talk with members who are active in your group. Always share good content, it will spread easily and increase your visibility with new leads.

Create a persona.
Make sure you are active within your community. Identify who you are and make sure you show others that you are likeable and trustworthy. If people think you are rude or not helpful on social media, they won’t do business with you. Don’t misuse social media. Show your network that you are a loyal and helpful resource and engage with your customers and the expectations of the community.

Remember that in order to succeed, it is key to cultivate relationships. Social media platforms are an excellent place to share more about your business and engage your prospective customers. Take time to listen to and engage your audience and watch your conversions grow.

How do you use social media to increase your bottom line?

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at megan@chamberofcommerce.com.
Website: www.chamberofcommerce.com

Photo credit


Social Style Cold Calling – Sales eXecution 2630

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

social billboard

As we have all noticed more and more companies are putting the Twitter and Facebook icons/logos not only on their marketing materials, but on trucks, and the signs on their buildings. In some instances they include their twitter handles, other cases not. I know I put my handle out there to help follow me, view my content, get a chance to see what I am about, and in general to invite them and encourage them to interact with me and my work. While some have called me odd, I figure that others have similar motives for displaying their “social signs”.

But I see it as sort of a half effort if you just display the Twitter logo on your truck or sign in front of your building, without including your handle. Puts the onus on me to go and search it, make sure that it is the right one, in most cases more bother than worth. Unless it involves a company you want to approach in order to do business with them, basically someone you want to prospect.

Which brings us to a company I have had my eye on for a bit, building my approach, but have yet to formally “put into play”. Last week when I drove by I noticed their new (or perhaps just newly cleaned) sign on the corner their building occupied. As you have guessed, the sign had the Twitter icon, but no handle. Hmm, I thought, let’s try something different.

I walked into reception, and said that I had noticed their sign, and wanted to talk to someone about their participation with and on Twitter. The receptionist looked puzzled, ask what specifically I wanted, I said I was interested in the company, and saw the icon on the sign, and wanted to follow them to satisfy my interest; so I was looking for their handle, but more importantly to speak with the individual who was managing their social media, gave her my card, which has my social coordinates on it. She picked up the phone, and a few minutes later, out cam a young lady, introduced herself as the person in marketing responsible for social media.

We talked for a few minutes, she told me why the company had decided to become active, how she got the job, and some of her objectives. One of which was t better interact with their clients and prospects, ensure their message was not only getting out, but received and understood by the right people. I asked if that included their sales team, and how the sales team was leveraging her work and social media in general. She smiled and said I would have to ask the VP of sales about that. Bingo!

He wasn’t in, but she introduced us via e-mail, and I booked the appointment.

You gotta love cold calling in the social age, it’s so not different than ever before.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto 

Social Trust and Sales (#video)3

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

TV Head

Monday I shared a clip from a discussion I had with Heidi Schwende, Chief Digital Officer & Certified Internet Consultant WSI Digital Moxie, part of WSI Internet Consulting. The interview explored the importance of and the “how to’s” of SOCIALIZING YOUR SALES SUCCESS.

Today’s snippet captures the discussion about trust, the lack there of for some traditional channels, while at the same time the elevated level of trust among social peers.

Click here to see the entire interview, let us know what you think.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto 

Socializing Your Sales Success – Sales eXecution 2480

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca


A few weeks back I had the opportunity to it down for a discussion with Heidi Schwende, Chief Digital Officer & Certified Internet Consultant WSI Digital Moxie, part of WSI Internet Consulting. The interview explored the importance of and the “how to’s” of SOCIALIZING YOUR SALES SUCCESS.

Today I am presenting a small taste specifically focused on the shift in buyer behaviour, expectation and the impact of social selling on sales people and the way we sell.

Click here to see the entire interview, and come back Thursday for another snippet.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto 

Using Social Media to “Prep” Customers for a Sale0

CC April 13

The Pipeline Guest Post – Megan Totka

Social media websites are a great sales and marketing tool, there’s no denying it. I would venture to say that most companies have a presence on at least one social media site, and if they don’t, they should! Many companies are developing marketing campaigns that are design for both online and traditional marketing.  For the online marketing aspect, they are normally specifically designed for use on social media sites. Ideally, these campaigns will lead to increased sales for the company.

But how exactly should you use social media to entice your customers to make a purchase? There are quite a few ways to go about it –

Use Photos and Video – social media sites are very photo-centric. There are so many sites out there that encourage users to take photographs of nearly everything they do. Some examples would include Instagram, Pinterest, and Flickr. By taking and posting attractive photos of your products or services, you are more likely to catch people’s attention than by just describing with words. Like it or not, we have become a much more visually-driven society since the advent of social media.

Promote Specific Events – Company events can draw a good deal of attention from customers. These events don’t even have to be sales-related. One of the main goals in sales is just to keep the name of your company or product on your current or potential customers’ minds, right? For example, take TOMS A Day Without Shoes campaign. Is going barefoot for a day going to encourage people to buy shoes? Probably not. But, it does give TOMS a ton of publicity and perhaps people who have not looked at their company before will take notice.

Feature Satisfied Customers – the great thing about social media is that your customers have the ability to give instant feedback. If you like what they have to say, give them a shout-out on your page. You may even get lucky and they may become a brand advocate.  This can be really helpful for other customers who have not yet bought from you. When they see positive feedback, it might give them reason to buy. For example, if someone writes a great review of a product, that might be able to sway someone who was on the fence before into giving the product a try.

Build Anticipation – this is particularly important if you are planning to introduce a new product or service. You know when you watch television, sometimes you see commercials for stores or restaurants that don’t have locations near you? Then when one opens nearby, you often feel compelled to check it out. For me, this happened with Kohl’s. They advertised the store in my area for several months before one finally opened. The same goes for the social media world. Prep your customers for new and exciting products or services before they launch. This way, the hype will already be there when you do release the new product.

Social media can be a great way to get customers involved in your business and to close sales. Use it early and use it often!

(Photo Source)

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Talk To Me – Not At Me!40

While it is still early days, there are some definite ways social media is impacting selling and buying; some of this is good and has helped sellers better understand and meet the needs of buyers, others, well really not worth fostering, and should be nipped in the bud now.

One specific practice brings with it some risk for sellers, especially new younger sellers targeting more mature decision makers, even those active on social media, centers around communicating.  Specifically, the real difference between connecting and communicating when it comes to selling.  To some degree this is a generational thing, revolving around long formed habits, more specifically it comes down to each group’s view of communication, and expectations from that communication.

On one level it comes down to definition or semantics if you like, many social sellers blur the lines between ‘connecting’ and ‘communicating’, some go further and fail to understand the difference, and completely confuse connecting with actually communicating with potential buyers.

Connection and connecting is important, but it is only a step towards communication. Don’t get me wrong I am not suggesting or basing my statement on the notion that communication needs to be face to face, but it does need to be mutual, interactive and result oriented. The result does not need to be defined in a sale or moving the sale forward, but in delivering an enhancement of the relationship.

For communication to be meaningful, especially between two parties , it does have to be direct, one to one. There can be effective sales communication between an individual and a group, we have all done it on webinars, presentations at conferences, etc.; but again those fall more into the connect category; there still needs to be that one to one that results out of the initial connecting effort.

Part of this tracks the ongoing evolution in sales, blending existing best practices with new evolving and sometimes better practices, a necessary process.  Where we run into problems is when the discussion takes the tone of out with the old, in with the new, rather than out with what no longer works, and in with what does, and does better.  Where we are now in sales, is that if you throw out the old, you end up throwing many of best potential prospects out too because they are not as tied into the new as you and the “prophets on the new” are.

The best approach is to use social in tandem with other mainstream methods.  As someone pointed out, will ‘spray’ your message, allowing it to touch a wider audience, creating a connection, perhaps a curiosity about your message.  This initial connection is like a seed that needs to be nurtured to grow fruit.  It is very much talking at an audience, not communicating with someone specific.  So be prepared to do both, but realize that one will bring you to the point of talking at someone, you still need to take steps, even like a follow up cold call to someone responding to or retweeting one of your tweets, to fully communicate and move the connection to a prospect.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Social Reality – Sales eXchange – 14850

This past Saturday, I had the great pleasure of spending the day with some of North America’s brightest sales thinkers. You can track them through my tweet stream @TiborShanto, and there is a list below. These 20 or so sales thought leaders are a subset of a larger group that has collaborated a number of ways online and in the socialsphere, I have worked with some for years, but this was the first (of many I hope) time we got together in one room to focus on and move a common agenda forward.

Without getting into detail, we made great strides in specific areas with concrete executables. While we had done things in the past, it paled in comparison to the quantum leap in progress made around the table in a few hours. This was not a surprise, nor a shock, in fact it was predictable, it just had to happen. People with a common purpose accomplish more together.

This is true for sellers and buyers, you can accomplish way more, especially at crucial points, working directly, together, in the same space.

Now this is not a negative post about social selling vs. traditional selling, or virtual selling vs. live direct selling; this about how things work together. Many valuable relationships start in the social media, but in most instances, especially in sales, it needs to progress to a direct interaction to fully flourish. The advantages to mastering both, the social and the direct interaction are many, especially when you perfect the timing of the transition from social and direct interaction. But there is no question you need to master both to win, and relying on one over the other, limits your options, repertoire, and success.

One of my greatest take away from Saturday was the quality of the interactions. Again, not a surprise, but always great when it happens. People were open, shedding veneers and pretence, things that are easy to hide behind or get lost behind in a purely social media based interaction. People want to help people, and do that much better face o face, not that the intent is absent in social media, but live it takes on dimensions that fuel success.

So get social, but also get live, you relish the experience and success.

Thanks to:


Next Step

  • Get Social
  • Get Live
  • Get Sales

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

The Gap Between Your Wishful Thinking and Real Customer Experiences30

The Pipeline Guest Post – Ernan Roman

THE PROBLEM: Many companies think they are doing a far better job of engaging with, serving, and supporting customers than they are.

THE SOLUTION: Take a hard look at your Customer Sat process. Is it self-serving, subject to manipulation… or brutally honest?

The following incident prompted me to write today’s blog. Recently, I called to arrange a cab from my home to the airport. This task is always a challenge, as the cab company has a virtual monopoly on taxi service from my hometown to the airport.

I expected the poor service I usually get from this company: no call to alert me when the cab was on the way; late arrival; and a surly attitude from a sullen, monosyllabic driver. I may have to use this company, but I would never, ever recommend it enthusiastically to a friend.

This time, however, I was amazed to discover that I was being treated to a higher level of service than usual. I received an advance call to confirm the details of my pick-up time. They were on time…and, I even experienced a pleasant attitude from the driver!

I soon found out why: This was a new driver who had just started working for the company!

My good feeling evaporated when I realized that I had been used to terrible service for so long that these positive interactions actually seemed like luxuries!

They weren’t. What I had experienced was actually the bare minimum for professional-level airport transport.

This company doesn’t “get it” when it comes to customer service. They had somehow managed to hire a driver, outside their norm, who “got it”. The underlying culture of disregard for the customer was still well entrenched. I found that out when I made my return trip!

Yet … when I see the owner of the company, he delights in telling me about their customer-centric practices and high satisfaction scores! He tells me that his business philosophy is rooted in listening to customers! And he truly believes it. But from direct personal experience, I can assure you that, of his thirty or so drivers, precisely one was capable of delivering a minimally acceptable customer experience!

Here’s the point: Most executives tend to think that they are doing a far better job of engaging with, serving, and supporting their customers than they really are.

I call the difference between your wishful thinking and real customer experiences … the Customer Gap.

Too often, marketers hold their customers hostage, because they believe that there are few or no viable options available to consumers. In an age of rapid technological change and sudden, transformational market shifts, this is an extremely dangerous game.

Often without realizing it, companies get complacent about the dangerously wide gap between what consumers have been promised and what they actually experience in the real world. They stop communicating effectively with their customers, and they get used to delivering a barely acceptable (or even an unacceptable!) level of service.

In an age of empowered, social-media-savvy consumers who can be expected to tell a global audience exactly how they feel about our brand, is that really where we want to be?


  • Take a hard, honest look at your Customer Sat Process, including the metrics and questions which determine “satisfaction”.
  • Evaluate whether those metrics are telling you what you want to hear, or what you have to know?
  • Ask customers for in-depth feedback regarding their experiences with your company and the potential gap between what they expected … and what they actually experienced.

About Ernan Roman

Ernan Roman is President of the marketing consultancy, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing.  Recognized as the industry pioneer who created three transformational methodologies: Integrated Direct Marketing, Opt-In Marketing, and Voice of Customer Relationship Research. Clients include Microsoft, NBC Universal, Disney, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.  Ernan was named to “B to B’s Who’s Who” as one of the “100 most influential people” in Business Marketing by Crain’s B to B Magazine.

His fourth and latest book on marketing best practices is titled: Voice of the Customer Marketing: A Proven 5-Step Process to Create Customers Who Care, Spend, and Stay. Ernan is also the co-author of “Opt-In Marketing: Increase Sales Exponentially with Consensual Marketing” and author of “Integrated Direct Marketing: The Cutting Edge Strategy for Synchronizing Advertising, Direct Mail, Telemarketing and Field Sales.”


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