Social Media As a Sales Tool Demystified
Social media: it’s something we all know we HAVE to do, though it gets a little tougher when forced to explain WHY we have to do it. How can posting on Facebook or Twitter or [insert social network of choice here] lead directly to sales and, therefore, be worthy of my already tight schedule? It’s a good question and a fair one if you rightfully believe that your job is to sit down with potential and existing insurance customers and find the solutions that work best for them as individuals or family units.
I have a hard time explaining it myself until I see a real-world example that hits me like a ton of bricks. Such an example occurred to me today with a restaurant called McAlister’s and their one-day-only “Free Tea Day” promotion. (This promotion will be over by the time you’re reading this, so sorry to burst your bubble if there is a McAlister’s in your area.)
What surprised me most is that I was the example. As someone, who routinely writes about marketing solutions, I like to think I know when a company is putting me to work as a marketer for them, but this time I didn’t realize it until after it had already happened.
Here’s what happened.
In the mood for a restaurant where I could get some healthy options, I ventured into McAlister’s on a whim. I noticed that they were having a Free Tea Day promotion, and being a sweet tea drinker, I ordered the large one. The girl behind the counter filled it up, and I sipped my way over to an empty table. I was not disappointed! But it wasn’t the great taste of the tea that I want to talk about. It’s what happened next. I had a few minutes before my meal would make it out to my table. So, as is often the case in such scenarios, I was bored. That led me to pull out my phone and check Facebook. After the third or fourth sip, I was impressed enough to leave a quick status update: “Free tea day at McAlister’s, people!”
After about 30 minutes, I was finishing up my meal and still not in the mood to go back to work, so I rechecked my Facebook, and there were 10 local people at that point — some I was closer with than others — who had thanked me and notified me they were on their way to McAlister’s to take advantage.
Ten new customers for something that took me 10 seconds to type and post!
Now I know what you may be thinking.
‘Tea is tea, and insurance is insurance.’
Well, yes and no. You are correct that tea is a different product from insurance. But that doesn’t mean the same principles for selling one will fail to help you sell the other using social media. How do you do it? By striving to give each customer or prospect VALUE every time you interact with them.
Think about it.
- McAlister’s had prepared for walk-ins like me with their Free Tea Day promotion.
- McAlister’s had given me value by delivering a product that I enjoyed. They knew that I would probably buy food, but they didn’t make that a prerequisite. They were giving me that value without demanding anything in return.
- McAlister’s made sure my experience was a good one, and I sent one simple Facebook message. That message won them 10 additional customers. They did not pay me to send that message, and they still have no idea I sent it.
Now, ask yourself: ‘How can I make my customers and prospects spread the word about me without asking?’
The simple answer: You do it by knowing what they want, giving them what they want, and making sure that you’ve done everything in your power to make them happy. That entails knowing who your customers are, where they’re at in their lives, and what worries or concerns are keeping them up at night. It also entails exceeding every expectation they have. By learning their expectations, you will have a much easier time coming up with incentives and add-ons that exceed them. And when you exceed, people will talk (in a good way).
One last word: don’t get discouraged if you’re trying new things at your agency and not seeing immediate results. Do experiment. Do always strive to give insurance leads and customers more than what they expect. But also realize that you’re not going to hit the mark every time. Some people don’t like McAlister’s tea. That doesn’t make their Free Tea Day promotion a bad idea. It just means that sometimes people are going to have needs or preferences that you can’t meet. But no one will fault you for trying.