Ticket Sales: Five Reasons You Should Be Good With Social Media
Fri, 11/04/2011 - 08:30 — Ken Troupe
You can be successful in ticket sales if you stay focused on two things:
1. Understanding your customers, and
2. Knowing how to develop new potential clients.
An account executive uses every tool possible to make these two things happen. A good sales rep needs to be good on the phone, adept at starting and holding a conversation, a skilled listener, and use email well. A good sales rep must be organized, understand how to network, and be able to spot trends and new potential sales opportunities. And now a good sales rep needs to understand social media and the importance of being good at using it.
Social Media is important because it may be the single greatest sales tool since the invention of the handshake. There is no other media tool that allows you to--in real time--develop true, long-lasting relationships that can result in increased sales. To understand social media, you need to first understand this cardinal rule: Using social media is not a tool to push out information.
Social media is a dialogue. Social media is a listening device. Social media is an engagement opportunity. Most twenty-something sales reps look at social media and think, “Why do I need to be on it? No one cares what I have to say.” And guess what….I agree. Social media is not about what you say; it is all about who you listen to and what you say to them.
Many reps look at social media and wonder how or where they should begin. Here are five reasons you need to stop looking and just jump.
1. Relationships = Sales. If you Google “What makes a good salesperson?” you will get a wide variety of results. But, one major underlying theme in most every article is the importance of having strong relationships and understanding your customers. Social media is all about developing relationships and understanding your customers. The two most important social media channels for getting this done are LinkedIn and Twitter. Engaging with your clients on these channels will allow you a better understanding of what is important to them.
LinkedIn. The first step to using LinkedIn is developing a profile that flows well. A good profile has been spell checked (you would be surprised), contains all of your professional job history (include a brief description of what you did or do), your contact info (work email, office #, twitter handle, and team website), college and professional organizations, and a professional looking picture. You have to remember your profile can be seen by the world, so make sure it is polished.
The next step is to increase your amount of connections. My best advice on connections is to remember it is all about quality not quantity. The goal is to build “true” relationships that last and allow you to increase sales, not to be the first one in the office to 500. Invite customers, colleagues, and friends. But, keep the friends to those that have beneficial business relationships. It’s better to keep “Fun Bobby” from college on Facebook. When you invite someone to connect make sure you personalize the invitation. I suggest something like this, “In an effort to provide better customer service, I would like to add you to my professional network”.
Twitter. The first rule of using Twitter in the sports business is asking your boss if it is acceptable. Twitter is still new and many teams are still trying to figure out how it fits into their overall social media strategy. As a result, some are reluctant to give their sales reps a voice. Keeping this mind, you want to encourage everyone you engage to also follow your team’s main Twitter feed, and to make sure your message lines up with the team’s messaging.
The second rule of Twitter is to remember you have nothing to say. As you work to build your personal brand on Twitter over the first few months, remember it is not about what you say. It’s all about who you listen to and what you say to them. The same rules apply to your Twitter profile as they do on LinkedIn. Make it look good and keep it professional.
2. Network from your seat….not your car. I stressed to my reps that when you are selling sports everyone is a potential client. I encouraged them to go out and get involved with their communities. Go to church, play in a recreational sports league, (with new people, not co-workers…remember, the idea is to make new connections), join a running club, hit a chamber event, and just get involved. The same principle applies with social media. Get involved. And just to be clear, I am not suggesting you give up all your normal networking activities, because they are all still important.
There is a tremendous amount of networking opportunities on both LinkedIn and Twitter, if you know where to find them or how to create them. On LinkedIn all the networking takes place on the “groups” tab. It goes without saying that you want to go ahead and join all the industry specific groups out there concerning ticket sales. The key here is to start some unique groups specific to your city or what you sell. If you sell premium seats, start a group called “client entertainment.” Sell group tickets? How about a group for “youth sports fundraising” or “keys to putting on a successful company picnic.” Sell season tickets? How about a group called “Client Perks To Close Business.”
On Twitter you can do the same sort of networking as mentioned above by joining or creating a “Tweet Chat.” Twitter created the #hashtag to be used as a tool for you to create groups or categorize topics that are important to you. Do a quick search on YouTube and you will find all you need to know about how to use a #hashtag in five minutes.
The key to good networking on social media is to remember to build a relationship first, sell second. Social media is not about spamming people with sales pitches. Social media is about organically growing a relationship or connection over time, and then selling them something. Think of selling on social media as a marathon, not a sprint.
3. Lead Generation. Most people look at LinkedIn as a place to network with industry professionals and find your next job. While this may very well be true, the main reason you want to be on LinkedIn is to generate sales leads and close business. Remember the best sales reps generate their own leads and don’t sit back waiting on the sales manager to provide them.
If you go to your LinkedIn profile you will find on the top right the “advanced search button”….click on it. You can use the advanced search to locate new prospects you would like an introduction to. You can filter your search by title, category of company, size of company, or any combination that will yield the results you need. Once you have identified a prospect you can click on the profile to see if you have a connection who knows this person. If you do, you can ask the connection for an introduction. Remember the key is the more connections you have the more possible introductions, so get connected today.
The key to finding good sales leads on Twitter is all about listening. I would recommend checking out Search.Twitter.com, which is a site that allows you to enter “key words” and search for real time conversations on Twitter. You really just need to get on there and play around, but I would recommend you start with “your team name” and “tickets” and see what you get.
4. Customer Service. If this were a list of “Top 5 reasons your organization needs to be on Twitter,” then improving customer service should be #1. There is no better way for an organization to monitor and engage with upset fans and quickly turn a negative into a positive than via social media, and particularly on Twitter.
Providing excellent customer service is the rep’s key to keeping a client happy and maximizing sales year after year. As a sales rep, you can now affect relationships and handle customer service issues on Twitter. If you are following your customers you can see when they are complaining about service or your team, and you can engage with them in real time. Handling a problem and keeping a customer happy on Twitter can be very impactful. Here’s why: The average Twitter user has about 220 followers. This is why social media works so well as a customer service tool. Make a customer happy on Twitter and they will most likely Tweet about it. Some of their followers will, of course, retweet this example of the fine customer service you provided, and some of their followers will retweet. Before you know it, your example of great customer service has now been seen by 1000 people. Powerful stuff.
5. Your Personal Brand. This “social media thing” is not going to go away, so it is time to think about developing your own social media presence. You want to better understand how powerful your voice is and how much true reach you have. .
Attention Sales Managers: How about a contest to see who can raise their Klout scores?
To get started, I would recommend you go to Klout.com and see your Klout score that measures the level of influence you have on your social networks. Klout.com has done a nice job establishing themselves as the authority on social media scoring, and until someone else comes along, start with them
The thing to keep in mind as you work to establish your voice on social media is to remember it is a process and takes time. Social media works well in sports because fans crave to have a connection to their team. They want to interact with you, they want to feel like you care, and they want to feel like they have a voice. Let them talk. Listen to them. The quickest way to kill a new relationship is to ask them to buy from you. They don’t want that, they want a true connection. Connect with your clients in a true organic long lasting fashion and sales will follow. I promise.