Jorge: What is your professional background and how did you get into sales?
Mic: I have been in sales and marketing over the course of the last 35 years. I had natural flow from and to marketing since I am a strong believer in having sales experience as a marketer and vice versa.
Jorge: What does “sales” mean to you?
Mic: There are of course several answers here:
a. It is a job that I do to make a living
b. It is my way to help clients solve problems they have and help them to achieve their goals
c. The voice and face of my company
Jorge: How has social media impacted the way we sell today and what is “social selling at it’s core?
Mic: Social Media has had several impacts for me:
a. I can keep up with my clients more regularly than I used to be able to. I can have many more touch points with them
b. I have access to many new people, clients and prospects
c. I have access to more content that can help me become a trusted advisor to my clients. It helps them achieve their goals quicker
Jorge: If I am trying to get started with social selling, what should be my first few steps and what software tools should I be using?
a. Create profiles where your clients are
b. Make sure you read what you clients read online
c. Start with good and complete profiles – make sure your offline reputation shines through online
d. Build a strong network of ambassadors and client e. Give to receive so share, share share
f. Connect online with offline
g. Tools: LinkedIn, Twitter, Hootsuite or Buffer.
Use Slideshare for presentation, YouTube for video, Instagram for photo and short video, blogs to share your experience, and finally Pinterest if you have a webshop.
Note: Do not start all these at the same time h. other tools: IFTTT to collect content, Google alerts to monitor your clients and yourself.
Jorge: Are their any cultural nuances to the way sales is conducting in Belgium that may differ from the stereotypical “American sales culture”?
Mic: There are many differences culturally that make social selling and selling general different than is the USA. We have small town mentality which is reflected in how business is conducted. Lunches and dinners are great places to network while online we are not so open.
Sharing is seen as dumb and giving your knowledge away. It is changing but still very prevalent.
Jorge: What is Vanguard Leadership all about what what size companies can see the most benefit from your services?
Mic: We at Vanguard Leadership focus on Social Media policy creation, Social selling, mobile device management and general social media. We do a lot of training (linkedIn, twitter, facebook, social selling, mobile usage, etc.) combined with some consulting and project guidance.
Since Belgium is an SME we both with large and small types of companies in any business. We do focus on B2B clients and less on B2C.
Jorge: What two tips would you give an early stage startup about implementing social selling methods?
Mic: a. Have a plan before you start – outline your objectives and metrics b. Make a plan (content calendar) on how you will sustain the social media content creation, curation and posting – It is a long term investment of giving to receive at some point.