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Does Social Media Help Salespeople Sell?

May 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Dallas, Texas, May 10, 2012. Social media technologies have re-shaped how we interact. But do they help salespeople sell? 

Not according to the results of two surveys presented at the 2012 annual convention of the Southwestern Psychological Association in Oklahoma, City. The surveys, reported by behavioral scientists, Trelitha R. Bryant and George W. Dudley at Behavioral Sciences Research Press in Dallas, Texas, were presented April 13, 2012. Bryant and Dudley asked 4,768 salespeople (67% men, 33% women, average age 40) in more than 1,000 U.S. companies which form of client communication is most helpful for generating new sales. The salespeople were surveyed as part of a standard assessment protocol for sales professionals which included the Sales Preference Questionnaire (SPQ*GOLD®), a psychological test used worldwide to detect emotional discomfort associated with prospecting for new business. Almost 70% (+/-1%) said established forms of communication (face-to-face and telephone contact) were most helpful generating new sales. Only 10% (+/-.14%) claimed email was most effective and less than 10% said other forms of computer-mediated communication were most effective. Results were not age-related.

“Further analyses uncovered another relationship,” Dudley said. “Salespeople claiming social media is most effective might be struggling with sales call reluctance®, an emotional impediment to production characterized by apprehension, conflict, hesitation or avoidance specifically associated with sales prospecting. They had elevated prospecting distress scores on eleven of the twelve forms of sales call reluctance measured by the test.”

To confirm their results, the research team conducted a follow-up study of 1,512 additional salespeople (64%male; 36% female, average age 40). The outcome was essentially the same (68% said conventional, 2.8% computer-mediated). “The second study confirmed what we learned in the first,” Bryant said, “including the link with sales call reluctance.  Computer-mediated social media may help find a date, keep tabs on old friends or support a political campaign. But most salespeople don’t think it’s as helpful as conventional person-to-person contact for generating new sales. ”

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