There are three elements to selling: access, influence and delivery. Whether you work in sales or marketing, whatever you do must impact one of those elements—that is, give you access to your customers, help you influence those customers and help you deliver on what you promise.

So advises sales expert Jim Keenan in an interview with Paul Dunay on the Buzz Marketing for Technology blog. Here are some of Keenan's insights:

  • Know your prospects' industry as well as (if not better than) they do. "Extensive knowledge of your customers business and industry or market gets you access AND allows you to develop tremendous influence."
  • "Be an analyst. When it comes to your customer analyze everything and ask WHY—why that approach, why that strategy."
  • "Believe in what you sell." Look to solve problems creatively and "push back on the status quo."

What's the impact of social media on sales? "Huge," says Keenan. "Social media is changing the game when it comes to access and influence ... providing new opportunities for sales people to exponentially grow their sphere of influence."

Social media provides salespeople with a tremendous amount of information about their customers—as well as a new kind of access to them, either through person-to-person communication or "invisible conversations."

So powerful that, in time, this new way of communicating will out-perform and do away with cold-calling altogether!

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