Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIn.
Do those words excite and energize you? Or do they confuse and scare you? A recent study by social sales specialist Jim Keenan suggests that your comfort level with these new channels could have a big impact on your work performance if you’re a salesperson.
In this article, Keenan and Forbes.com contributor Mark Fidelman share how customers have changed, how selling as a practice has changed, and how sellers need to change to keep up. According to Fidelman, sellers who have adapted to the changing times are more successful at meeting and exceeding their sales quotas. He says,
The most interesting finding was that in 2012, 78.6% of sales people using social media to sell outperformed those who weren’t using social media. […] Keenan found that when it came to exceeding sales quota (exceeding quota by more than 10%), social media users were 23% more successful than their non-social media peers. Keenan told me that no matter how you sliced the data, social media users came out on top.
Furthermore, these successful sellers adopted these new skills on their own initiative. Nearly 75 percent of them said they have not received formal training from their organizations. In other words, these people recognized a need in the marketplace, recognized it as an opportunity and found a way to use it to their advantage. Without prompting from their managers. Without waiting for a company sponsored training course. Without complaining about how unresponsive and unfriendly customers are these days. They simply adapted to the changing circumstances.
There are two morals to this story.
Number one: If you are a seller, you better believe that using social media is currently a fundamental tool needed to keep your job. If you haven’t explored how to use LinkedIn groups to connect with prospects or monitored Twitter for customers who are dissatisfied with your competitor in order to adjust and respond, you are behind.
Number two: Social media selling is just one example of how the workplace evolves over time. No matter what you do for a living, you have to keep pushing to stay relevant in your field. For you, staying relevant may mean learning a new programming language, earning an additional degree, studying upcoming industry regulations, picking up a foreign language or joining a professional networking group.
And don’t count on your employer to tell you what that next hot skill will be. You—and you alone—are responsible for developing the skills, connections and expertise that make you a more valuable employee.
Too many people get stuck on their current and past performance, thinking that what they achieved last year will carry them through indefinitely. But your future potential is just as important, if not more. Instead of trying to protect yourself from changing circumstances and expectations on the horizon, you need to grow into them. So go for it! Do your homework! I promise it will pay off.
If you want to find out more about how to maximize your future potential and increase your overall value, check out The Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace.