While many people see social media as a tool to increase the number of leads a company attracts/secures (and it can be using the techniques below), believing that is the only benefit of social media would be a mistake. Social Media can actually be utilized to help increase the closing rates of existing leads too.

How can this be you ask?

Here are a few such techniques:

1. Any good sales person knows, being successful in sales means being able to find things in common with potential clients early on in the sale process, or better yet, coming highly recommended. Finding someone both parties know in common is a great advantage. Better yet, finding someone known to both parties who is willing to provide a recommendation is nothing short of GOLD.

So then, what if we could use social media to find this common friend in advance of the meeting, and possibly one who would provide a positive reference.

Here are a few such ways to find this person:

    a. identify friends/contacts you both have in common:

      1. LinkedIn - make sure you're logged into your LinkedIn profile, then search for the prospect's name (the person, not the company) on LinkedIn. There in plain site on their profile page, it will show you people you know in common (in the example below, I don't know Toronto Mayoral candidate Rob Ford directly, but I know people who know him). Knowing people in common is 'common ground', so long as they will have good things to say about you.

      TIP - the more "friends" you have on LinkedIn, the more likely you are to find a business connection.

      2. Facebook - Likewise on Facebook; make certain you are logged into your account. Then find a person's profile, and in the left most column it will tell you which friends you have in common.

      Tip: to find their Facebook profile, search for "first name last name" and a refining keyword ... eg. "joe smith" toronto

      3. Twiangulate - if you've got a Twitter profile, and you can find the Twitter profile of the potential client contact, then this great service will show you the twitter profiles you share in common, in terms of those you both follow, and those who follow you both. Perhaps not as powerful as the LinkedIn solution, but if you understand who they like and respect, its still common ground.


    Failing being able to find people you know in common, another suggested approach would be to:

    2. Friend them on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Then, make certain you publish informative updates on each of those social sites a minimum of a few times a week. If they friend you back, they'll see your ongoing updates, and you and your organization will be kept top-of-mind. Accordingly, even if they chose to do business with another company in the short term, you can win them back long term. Being top-of-mind breeds respect/familiarity, respect/familiarity in turn breeds trust, and trust in turn ... breeds business.

    Using the techniques above, should help to substantially increase a business development person's closing ratio.

    Do you have any other ways to use social media that will likewise increase the closing ratios of sales people in your organization?