‘Get with the social media program’

Company reputations, brands, customer loyalty—and sales—are at stake, pro says
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla.—Jeffrey Gitomer, best-selling author and sales and customer service professional, likes to quote Bob Dylan—a lot. “The times, they are a changin’,” he said during his keynote speech at Honeywell’s Connect2014, held here.

And those changes, he said, in front of a backdrop of Dylan, all point to social media.

“Social media has changed the way you sell and serve forever,” he said, energetically making his way through the audience aisles at the annual dealer event held Nov. 13-16.

“Times are always a changin’. Change is an opportunity. How are you taking advantage of that? How are you keeping up with that change?”

The old way of selling doesn’t work anymore, and those companies that aren’t taking advantage of social media will lose customers, he said. Newsweek is dead, the Yellow Pages are dead and newspapers are dying or already dead, he said. Security companies, too, can watch their customer base erode, or they “can get with the social media program.”

Social media is where security companies can boost and protect their reputations and brands and connect with customers, he said.

It’s also where they can build customer loyalty. There’s a big difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer, he said: “Loyalty is the measure of success.”

It’s loyal customers who will refer their security provider to their friends and families.

“Do you know which brand evokes the fiercest loyalty in North America? Harley-Davidson. Their customers are willing to get that brand tattooed on their arms,” he said, adding, “I don’t see anyone with Honeywell tattoos,” drawing big laughs from his audience.

To earn that degree of Harley-Davidson loyalty, “you don’t need to drop your price, you need to increase your perceived value,” and social media is the way to do it, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other online venues, he said.

“Tweet about safety once a day. Get your customers to follow you. Attract, engage and then connect,” he said.

Check your online reputation; if you’re Googling a customer before a sales meeting takes place, you can bet they’re doing the same to you, he said.

“Be searchable and findable and be attractive,” he said.

“You don’t need to drop your price, you need to increase you’re perceived value,” and social media is the way to do it, he said.

Video testimonials from happy customers don’t cost anything and are very effective, he said. Get those testimonials and post them. “The voice of the customer is the most powerful weapon in your arsenal,” he said.

In these times that “are a changin’,” it’s also important to “dare to be yourself and love your family,” he said in parting.

Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible,” “The Little Red Book of Selling” and “SocialBOOM!” He also writes a syndicated column, “Sales Moves.” He has brought his messages on selling, customer loyalty and personal development to hundreds of companies including BMW, Coca-Cola, IBM, MetLife and Wells Fargo Bank.