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It's part sales, part marketing, part branding, part market research and development.

But most of all, it's an art whose masters have made millions.

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Social Networks and Prospecting

A good friend and colleague of mine, , posted this question in LinkedIn Answers this week:


"Wtih all the social media available, including linked in, Blogs, twitter, plaxo, second life, et al, what is the best way to utilize all this stuff, stay ahead of the techno-bleeding edge, and really, just find another customer to tell my story to?

I can't keep up with all the social media, web 2.0 marketing movement. Really, all I want to do is find the next customer. I am hoping someone has figured out the magical answer to taking advantage of technology and simply find new people interested in what I have to offer. Anyone?"


Now what you need to understand is that Michael is a brilliant man.  In fact he's a fantastic resource for the Sales Community as founder of the .

His question, I posit, goes to a fundamental misunderstanding of Social Media, Social Networking and its relationship to sales.

Remember, these tools are there to help you tell your story when you are NOT able to be in front of a prospect.  They help your potential prospects have somewhere to go to find out more about you than you will ever be able to disclose to them.  Social media tools are a way to "tell your story" not only to the prospects you do know, but the ones you'd never be able to get to in a million years of calling on people.

is especially valuable.  Because not only are you putting yourself out there and giving people a chance to check you out, but you have advanced search tools to do some serious targeted prospecting - AND finding a way into said prospect via referral or introduction.

Most sales people who use LinkedIn do not have any true understanding of this.  Precisely because they are focused on the next transaction.  I spoke about this in a different post.

Network Building, positioning, marketing, and such activities are not Sales.  But done well, they position us in front of our perfect client so our likelihood of having a sales conversation goes up dramatically.  And, again, when done well, it removes a lot of the barriers that sales people experience when they cold call.

Network development is a medium to long term strategy.  Prospecting for sales is something that MUST be done to meet quotas.  I don't argue that either is more or less important.

The important thing here is to have a keen understanding about what you are trying to accomplish with social media, and then go to work building that - via blog, twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

As a sales person, you will always need to tell your story to another potential client.  The point with social media is can they relate to you and interact with you both before and after the sale in a way that is meaningful to them.

That's the formula for a long-term clientele that grows virally!

Raymond Chip Lambert

Deep Business Development


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