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Hello and thank you for being here today. My name is Mohammad Rahighi and what I'm talking about here is the age-old question I have people following me on Twitter, I have people talking to me on Facebook. Now, how do I make money? We're here for business, right? So it's not a popularity contest. We're all here to get more exposure and audience that you've built and convert those people into paying customers.

So we're not going to focus so much today on how to get that audience there in the first place. We'll talk a little bit about that but it's more about once you have them there, what do you with them? I want to emphasize that by audience I don’t meant that you have tens of thousands of people. What we're going to talk about today is a process that you can use whether you have five followers on Twitter or five blog subscribers or 50,000. It's all the same thing.

What you're going to learn today, the first thing is a really simple, really easy to understand three-step process for converting your social media audience into customers. You're also going to learn the best ways to engage prospects to lead them down the path to being a client, how your existing sales process translates to social media, that's really important, the average length of a sales cycle on social media and how that might differ from your "normal sales cycle," and my exact process for closing clients through social media. I'm actually going to take you through kind of a mini case study and show you exactly what I have done to move people from -- in my case, I use Twitter a lot, so to move people from Twitter to being a client that actually pays me thousands of dollars.

So let's start with some initial frameworks to shape this conversation, to kind of get in your head before we start going through the three-step process. The first thing that you really need to get clear on is that social media is a lead generation and lead nurturing source. It is not where sales happen directly. I think there is a lot of confusion about this because some people will say, "Well, social media isn’t a sales channel. It's a communication channel." That's kind of true and it's kind of not true.

I think when people hear social media isn’t a sales channel sometimes they get confused and it might make you think that you're not supposed to be selling or promoting via social media and that's not the case at all. Everything I teach you is how to use social media for your business to get sales. So you absolutely do want to be selling and promoting on social media, but what I want to make clear is that social media is a lead generation source. It is not where the actual sales happen.

So a networking event is always a really good comparison for the way social media works I think. So when you go to a networking event, you might expect to find some leads, you might expect to find some partners, but I'm guessing that you don’t go home disappointed if you don’t have a signed contract in your pocket, right? That's not what happens in a networking event.

You might meet someone. You might even end up having a really great in-depth conversation with someone who is the perfect match for you but you're not going to like bust out the document right there and have them sign on the dotted line. Of course, it depends on your industry. Maybe, right? That's great if you can swing it, but that's usually not what happens and it's the same in social media.

So when you think about sales from social media, for most businesses, and this can be different for like e-commerce businesses, but for most businesses you are not putting a link to a product on your Twitter feed and then people are buying it. That happens sometimes and there is a place for that, but that's not how you're going to make most of your sales. Most of your sales are going to come from leads that come through social media and then you put them into your sales funnel and that's where the sale happens.

I also want to emphasize that I'm using the word "customers" today. Of course, the words customers and clients are interchangeable depending on your business model. But today I'm using the word customer to mean really even more than just the normal definition of customer or client but anyone who makes you money. Those are a lot of people who don’t directly buy from you, and I think especially in social media I see a lot of businesses have a lot of success with social media financially but not necessarily from finding direct customers. They might find advertisers, promotional partners, referral sources, or even colleagues to brainstorm with.

I mean I know it doesn’t necessarily sound very exciting but I know that I have directly made money from conversations that I've had just from friends that I've made through social media where we trade ideas about marketing, we trade ideas about our businesses. I mean it's basically like having consultants for free when you're able to make these friends. It can be very valuable in a bottom line type of way.

So there are lots of people who make you money besides just customers in the traditional sense. We are going to focus on people directly buying from you today, but I want you to remember that everything we're talking about really applies to all sorts of stakeholders in your business and we are going to go a little more in-depth on non-customer stakeholders as well at the end.

Free content is a great way to build trust and generate interest. Whenever we're marketing on social media, most of the time content-driven marketing where you're sharing great content. People are talking about it. People are getting to know, like, and trust you. People are seeing your philosophy. So free content is important but we always want to work to move people's interest from that free content to a purchase. Some people get so stuck at free content land that they never sell anything and that is not where I want you to be.

So as you're sharing free content keep in mind that you always want to position yourself as a business that people can buy from. So it's great to have free content that's closely aligned with these services and products that you offer, and don’t be shy about reminding people that if they like this freebie there's something else that can give them the more in- depth information, of course, whatever that is for your industry.
If they like the report that you gave them on how to set up their own S Corp, they're really going to love it when they pay you to set it up for them. Always remember that although free content is a very profitable tool, your role is not a free content provider. That's a marketing source for you. That's not you’re your business exists.

So first, I'll just give you the general overview and then we'll dive in to each of the three steps, your three-step customer conversion plan.

  1. Attract customers or prospects at this stage.
  2. Engage your customers. This is where we're building the trust. This is where we're building credibility. This is where we're building liking and also just having all those touch points. So it often takes before someone buys from you.
  3. Moving customers into your unique sales funnel.

We're going to talk about these more, but what I see over and over again is people who say that they're having trouble converting from social media, converting I mean taking those people and making them into clients, I find that they often don’t have a social media conversion problem. They just have a conversion problem in the first place. If you don’t have a process for sales, if you don’t know how people become customers, social media is not a magic pill for that. Remember that social media is a lead generation source. So we're going to talk about some different ways that are especially effective to construct your sales funnel when you're getting those leads from social media.

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