You will make more friends in a week by getting yourself interested in other people than you can in a year by trying to get other people interested in you.

—Arnold Bennett

Let’s not beat around the bush here: Salespeople are hard to convince when it comes to trying new tactics. They’re busy, they’re bottom-line driven, and they want to do what works. Come to them with something unproven and pie in the sky, and you’ll find yourself talking to a rapidly vanishing backside.

But if you can convince a salesperson of the value of a new tool, you’ll not only have a violent convert on your hands, you’ll also soon have all of her closest colleague/competitors breaking down your door, asking for the same advantage.

Even if all of your knowledge of sales comes from the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, you already know what is nearest and dearest to a salesperson’s heart: qualified leads. (Also, coffee is for closers.)

How much are you paying for leads? Many organizations know their cost for a qualified sales lead. Depending on the type of product, the cost of a lead can climb to hundreds of dollars. Maybe more.

Here’s the good news: You can get some of the most qualified leads imaginable just by opening your social media ears and listening. According to a 2009 survey by the IT Services Marketing Association, 75 percent of corporate IT buyers use social media to gather information and communicate with colleagues during the buying process.

In other words, not only are prospective ...

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