Teaching Sales People How to Fish: Guide For Using Twitter To Gather Warm Leads

by Josh Nelson
October 4, 2012

Social Media has always been a taboo subject for me. The idea of connecting with people I meet everyday is always intriguing. Staying in touch with others has always been a weakness of mine and expressing my voice to the mass to be heard, well, who doesn't like being heard?

However, how public do you want your life to be? How annoying is to see people post their entire lives online for the world to see as in "HEY! Look at me" constantly. You know who those people are, and if you are like me, start to wonder if they in normal, human interaction always have to be the center of attention. 

For me to attend a session at Social Media Week in Chicago, was, a little bit out of the norm. I love hearing new ideas how to use new techniques to meet new customers and grow my business. However, I like to approach customers the same way I shop. Find an expert, get their opinion, and then make my choice. I approach my customers the same way. Show them that I'm an expert, I get their opinions about the services I can provide, and then wait for their decision. 

People buy in all different ways. I know for myself if I cannot purchase your service or product without going online, without speaking to someone, I shy away. Yes, its something that I'm working on because in reality I am the customers that make it difficult for sales people (but e-commerce folks love!). 

I attended "The Power of Social in B2B Leads" to learn more about a certain group of people that I simply do not communicate with. Quite frankly, there may be many in the realm of sales who don't. It was a well spoken event with the three speakers: Frank Helmert, Pamela Robertson, and Gerry Moran. Frank gave insight on how his company, AON, uses multiple resources to gather data to track the amount of activity social media brings to the company and breaks down how they use that data. Pamela demonstrated how important it is for social media to expand a brand for Experian Marketing Services. To be honest, I thought Experian was just a credit company. 

What I got most out of this event was Gerry Moran explained how he teaches employees at SAP-North America "How to Fish."

"Fishing", was social media and I get that analogy. Tweets, Facebook posts, and Linkedin posts are all forms of "bait." You cast those out to the public, and if anyone nibbles you try to reel them in by continuing the converstation until you finally pull in the "Fish". 

My inner light didn't turn on, it blew up. For example, I like to see what is trending in Twitter. For some trivial reason I think its important to know what people are talking about. I do that by just randomly using the Twitter search bar topics I'm curious in. Never thought about using it to find what people are talking about products and services I sell, or even my competitors. 

That's perfect for someone in sales! You can cast a net in the Twitter ocean to reel in a school of "fish" to showcase your services and products. 

Teaching others how to Twitter, can be challenging, especially for those people who do not use the program often. So, in my way of paying it forward for the wonderful event at Social Media Week, here are some tips to teach sales people how to "Fish" using Twitter. 

1) Search

- If you want to know what people think about services or products, they like to either A)Brag how great it is or B)Vent their fustrations. One of the keywords I like to search is "web conferencing." I get all of the most recent tweets to see what people are talking about. From their I can see what buying trends people have, or even some people looking for help (Warm Lead!). 

2) How to use "@" and "#" 

- Let's make this simple. The "@" is directly in front of a person or companies twitter handle. For example, my Twitter handle is @joshnelson3. If you wanted to tweet something to me, or to anyone, use the "@" symbol.

Now the tricky part is the #. Often times people like to make them funny. Like #winning (thank you, Charlie Sheen), #BOOM, or my personal favorite, #sarcasm. What # should be used for are subjects. For example: The new @apple #iPhone 5 is awesome! The "#iPhone is the subject and when people search for "iPhone" on Twitter, they can find your tweet. Great to # your products, services, and any keywords. Recommend having the sales team to speak with marketing about keywords that work best for the company. 

3) Following and Messaging 

- I think a good rule of thumb is to follow those that follow you. Now, there are plenty of people who do not. They feel like they only want to follow people they care to follow and do not want their Twitter feed to be filled up with tweets they simply do not care about. I can understand that. So it's important that when you do meet a customer and make a connection: an e-mail, a phone call, a Linkedin connection, etc. It's important to also follow them on Twitter to see what they are tweeting about, and post tweets that are important to them. If you wanted me to check out a blog about a product you sell, you can address it to me as "Hey @joshnelson3, I think this phone is what you have been looking for: shorturl" 

I would get that tweet, and because its directed at me, I am more prone to read it. 

4) ShortURL

- Google "shorturl" and you will find hundreds of websites that allow you to take a full weblink, and condense it allowing you to maximize the most of your 140 characters. Please, for everyone's sake, use ShortURL's when posting links to Twitter. 

Now, there are more tips of the trade when it comes to Twitter, but this gives sales people the basic understanding how Twitter can be another tool to gain more revenue. Is it going to replace cold calling (which may be dead) or e-mail's? No, but it does allow the possibility for sales to find their own leads and create a list of prospects they can work with. 

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