How to Close a $48,000 Deal Using Twitter
Yes, the title sounds ridiculous…but I promise the story will not disappoint.
I’m going to share how to use social media to generate sales. Social media is, without a doubt, a great marketing channel; however, for many it’s harder to quantify any sales dollar value. In this post I will focus on how I used social media to specifically target and “spear” a lead rather than “casting” nets and gaining likes or followers.
Disclaimer: The information in this post is true and accurate. It is not affiliated with any customer information from Optify.
At the time I was employed with my former company, a tech startup selling management software for IT infrastructure. We didn’t have many inbound leads and most of the prospects I did speak with were “just looking” or were vaguely qualified. Sound familiar?
Frustrated, I thought, “How can I sell a solution to people when the timing is off or they don’t have a problem with the status quo?” My short answer — You can’t! I believed in the product we were selling and I needed to find prospects at that moment of pain.
After the daily grind of unrewarding phone calls and emails, I decided to try to work smarter. I took to social media to find those prospects in real-time, with a real problem.
Takeaway #1: No Problem, no sale! Identify what you are selling.
At the time, I was selling a solution that solved pains and therefore timing was essential. No pain = no need = no sale.
Social media offered a way to listen for pains and find prospects to reach out to at the right moment. I mean, it’s 2013, right? We have the ability to track and monitor so much online — why not have real-time alerts on when a prospect is looking for your solution?
Action step: Join online communities, create your profile, follow or friend industry thought leaders
Here are some of the social media channels I used:
- LinkedIn groups
- Industry Q/A Sites or Blogs
- Google+ (wasn’t around at the time of this story – but a very relevant social network to utilize)
Using a great social media monitoring and management tool like HootSuite, I set up a dashboard that aggregated all the social media channels I mentioned above. Here I was able to check in periodically throughout my day to engage in conversations.
Another great tool for social listening is Social Mention for monitoring industry trends and seeing what people are saying about your market.
Takeaway #2: Know your buyer personas and social keywords.
My target prospect was a CTO or Sys-Admin. The next question was, “Where do I find them talking about their pains?”
What I did was make a list of all the places I could potentially “listen” into prospect conversations and be able to engage them. And more importantly, I made a list of all the conversation topics that I would want my prospects to be talking about. Let’s call these pains the “social keywords” I was looking for.
Some of my social keywords included:
- Server problems
- Cloud server
- Migrating database
Action step: Listen for pains or problems you can solve. Identify your target market(s)’ social keywords.
Takeaway #3: Social media is for conversing, not pitching.
My first bite came within two days of setting this all up.
I had been monitoring my social keywords and was listening for pains when I noticed a tweet mentioning server problems.
WOW, could this really be happening? A prospect is publicly declaring a problem I knew we could solve!
At this point we are more than half-way there. What you do next with this information is VERY important. Follow these steps:
- Send a friendly reply via Twitter mentioning you’d be emailing them
- Email a more professional intro with reference to your tweet/post and mention you can help solve their problem
Using this formula I received a response within minutes introducing me to their CTO. From here we entered the standard sales/pitching process.
Less than 30 days and $48,000 later – they became a customer. WOO HOO!
Was this a fluke? Why did this work? Here’s why I think this approach works time and time again:
- Used social media to listen (in this case Twitter)
- Conversations added value – more importantly, they NEVER broadcasted my wares
- Responded and communicated with a personal, friendly, and targeted message focused on helping solve prospects’ problems
Action step: Start conversing with your target audience. Connect and build relationships. Share new content or solutions freely.
Colleen Francis, president of Engage Selling, says that she has seen salespeople find leads using social media and make sales of between $30,000 and $250,000. “The biggest sales have come from salespeople using Twitter to find opportunities and LinkedIn to find the names of the true buyers inside organizations,” she says.
Using social media to generate sales:
- Jump in and join communities
- Look for problems that you know how to solve
- Start connecting
Feel free to share your success stories in the comments below!