You often hear people say that having political conversations on Facebook is a waste of time.
I disagree. Moreover, I think they are excellent ways to step up your B2B sales game.
At the end of the day, sales is only communication and finding out IF you can help your prospect. So if your goal is finding out IF you can actually help people, there are a few things you have to do.
- Drop your ego.
- Stop telling people about you and your stuff.
- Realize you do not know IF the prospect even has a need to or WANTS TO FIX the problem you solve.
- Shut up and… LISTEN. LISTEN. LISTEN.
- ALWAYS be respectful of their time and of them personally.
- Be open to hearing their story and how they got to where they are.
- Go at the pace they need to move at.
- Ask questions to dig deeper.
- Always be present.
Let’s dig into these a bit.
Drop your ego
Why would you need to drop your ego on a sales call/meeting and in a Facebook political conversation? Well in a sales call, just like a facebook political conversation, the prospect on the other end is highly skeptical of your messaging. If there is the least bit of sarcasm or snarkiness or that you are full of yourself, your prospect will put up a wall and either disengage or come in guns-a-blazing ready to shoot you down. This means mastering not only the words you use, but also and more importantly mastering your TONE. In text, if there is a way your thoughts could be misread, then they certainly WILL BE. Not on purpose, but since you are an adversary in the prospect’s mind they are going to always be looking for the competitive advantage or trick you are going to pull.
Realizing that you, in fact, DO NOT know it all, is important and stating that early on in the conversation can help take down the walls. So for example, if an issue starts to arise, address it. You could say something like… “it sounds like we hit on a sore topic. I assume it is because you feel frustrated with what I said earlier. First off was my assumption right? Was that a sore topic? If so can you tell me why and will you allow me to apologize for my screw up?” This shows you care about them (and YOU DAMN WELL BETTER). It also shows you are not looking to win or feel the need to be right. It also shows respect.
Stop telling people about you and your stuff
Self-love is important, but in a sales call or Facebook political conversation is not the time or place to show how GREAT you think you are. This conversation is not about you it is ALL ABOUT YOU LEARNING from the person you are engaged with. People get very board talking about you, but love talking about themselves. LET THEM. When I am doing sales training with my clients, I always say… “Telling is not Selling”, so stop telling about your products.
Realize you do not know “IF” the prospect even has a need to or WANTS TO FIX the problem you solve
Again this whole engagement is about hearing their side and if there are ways to add value to their life or business, then and only then should you chime in. That being said, make your conversation more about seeking understanding and you will find that your prospect will typically be happy to answer a question if it is sincerely seeking a deeper understanding.
Shut up and… LISTEN. LISTEN. LISTEN.
You are asking questions and engaging in great conversation with no ego, right? Great! Now it is time to shut up and listen. You see often times we hear a comment or read the first two lines of a post and our brain goes wild at the number of responses we could throw out to answer their question or shut down their comment. This is disrespecting them and they are quick to pick up on retaliation type responses. It shows that the ego crept in again and you need to be right or think you are smarter or know better than your prospect and instantly puts up the walls.
ALWAYS be respectful of their time and of them personally
Notice how all of these ideas kind of build on each other? If you drop the ego, stop talking about yourself, ask questions and listen, really listen to them do you notice how you are already showing them respect? No matter a sales call or a political conversation if your prospect feels respected, they will stay engaged. As soon as disrespect creeps in (real or misinterpreted) they will check out and you will lose the sale or the conversation. Tact is HUGE. If you find they are not responsive to ideas and you have been a “class act” the whole time, you know it is time to move on. You do not want to waste your time or theirs. Also, when it comes to respecting their time, show up on time (be 10 minutes early for in-person meetings) and on a call confirm that this is still a good time to talk, to make sure something hasn’t changed and they will be present. Also, if you agreed to a 30-minute meeting and you get to 20 minutes and know you have a long way to go, address this. At 25 minutes in, you could say… “Can we address something John? We agreed to a 30-minute call and we are getting close to our end time. We have several things to still review to confirm if you have a problem that needs to be fixed and if we are the provider to help. Would you like to schedule another meeting or are you flexible to go past the 30-minute mark if we are still getting into the thick of things?”
Be open to hearing their story and how they got to where they are
Before you dig right into solving the potential problem you might need to understand how they got to where they are. You might need to find out if this is an ongoing issue that causes a lot of pain or if it is a one time issue and what caused it. In a political conversation, this is getting to know their worldview and how they came to think the way they do. In sales, it is the same. It is really about understanding why they think they have a problem and how they started thinking it was one they needed to fix. If you do not know the backstory, you can not address the root of their needs and desires.
Go at the pace they need to move at
When people feel rushed they shut down. In the old marriage analogy, you have to date first. You do not pitch getting married in the first meeting. You have to take things slow. The same is true for a sales call or political conversation if you run in for the kill on the first sentence, you will scare the prospect and kill the opportunity to dig deeper into the real problem. Many people want to get to close as soon as possible, but the close will almost happen on its own if you just take more time on the front end.
Ask questions to dig deeper
How do you do all this stuff? Well, one way is to ask questions. These have to be specifically targeted questions related to the topic because random questions alone will start to feel like a waste of time, so use them wisely.
Always be present
The last bit of info I can mention is to be present. Do not take a sales call or get into a political conversation if you can not be present and in the moment. In a sales call, this is your livelihood and treat it like that. Prospects need your full attention to buy-in to your solution. They need to feel like you sincerely care and that you can relate to them and their problem. In a political conversation, the same is true. Either of these topics can go sideways at the drop of a hat. If you are not responsive to this and their thoughts, everything is lost.
Okay so why would a share all these ideas about having political conversations on Facebook? Well if you are new to B2B complex sales and you are selling a high-ticket product/service, then joining political conversations on Facebook is a great way to hone your craft and/or master these skills in a place where if you lose, you are not losing the sale. These two areas are very closely aligned in skill sets needed to create a positive outcome. So as crazy as it may sound, jumping into heated political conversations allows you to keep your cool and figure out how to think on your toes and keep a conversation going in order to seek the root of the problem.
Share your thoughts on this idea. Can you see the similarities? Can you see the benefits of trying this? Would you actually give this a try?
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Trump photo by Matt Johnson
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