Reputation has always been important for sales professionals. Consumers need to believe in the salesman to believe in the product.
The difference today is it’s much easier for that reputation to spread far and wide thanks to the review websites and social media. This scares some sales people because a bad review can stick with you. More information is generally thought to favor the consumer, but there’s also a huge upside for sales people not to be ignored.
There’s an article in the Memphis Daily News today about social media’s impact on real estate in which Joe Spake, a real estate broker with Revid Realty in Memphis, talks about how social media is helping him makes sales. He says:
All of my new business that hasn’t been referred in the last two years has come straight from social media – from being out there, from blogging, from being on Facebook or Twitter – people that I don’t even know in real life call me up to help them find a house. There’s a big credibility factor there.
Spake is exactly right about the credibility factor, but I would take issue with calling this business that “hasn’t been referred.” He’s talking about business that doesn’t come from offline referrals, but those finding him on Facebook or Twitter are just replicating that offline experience.
It’s just that now consumers are reaching out to social media contacts for advice on which realtor or mortgage banker to use. Instead of reaching out to four or five friends on the phone, smart consumers are consulting their social networks where friends number in the hundreds if not thousands.
That’s why we’ve built Stik.com to make that experience easier for consumers and sales professionals. We agree with people like Dave Fleet, vice-president of digital at Edleman, who writes in his “20 Social Media Trends for Business in 2011” that social impact will drive reputation. Sites like Service Alley are giving consumers the option to browse reviews from their Facebook friends for home service providers from carpenters to electricians to painters.
The sales professionals in any industry that recognize this and seize the opportunity have a lot more to gain than fear from the social media impact.