Would You ‘Like’ to Buy?

Headshot of Jeff Molander

It wasn’t terribly obvious to the folks at SteelMaster Buildings that Facebook was a good place to be prospecting. As it turns out, the company is one of the best Facebook B-to-B examples I’ve found to-date. Here’s how the business gets U.S. and international leads and sales—right on its Facebook page.

SteelMaster is a 30-year-old company selling prefabricated steel buildings and roofing mainly for industrial, agricultural and military use. Let’s face it, Facebook doesn’t exactly pop to mind when you think “corrugated steel buildings.”

Yet SteelMaster is generating and converting leads to new customers—all across the globe—by applying three success principles in very interesting ways. They company is:

1. Solving problems: SteelMaster is solving unique problems for customers that, when witnessed by new prospects, fosters “can-do” confidence in them.

2. Designing to sell: The company is giving customers incentives to tell stories that spread quickly and provoke new customer prospects to contact the company.

3. Creating curiosity in prospects: This B-to-B and B-to-C seller is exploiting what customers already love doing on Facebook (sharing photos) in ways that create curiosity and action.

Exposing Customers’ Successes to Win Leads
Here’s the rub: SteelMaster successfully exploits one of Facebook’s top activities, photo sharing. Through photos and videos (telling stories) of current customers’ projects, the company plants seeds in the minds of latent (long-term) prospects and creates “tip-ins” for customers on the edge of a purchase.

SteelMaster’s products often solve unique problems for niche customers. That’s why the company exposes potential new customers to this fact through photos and videos of existing customers on Facebook.

SteelMaster’s buildings and roofs are literally some of the strongest structures on the planet. Plus, they’re amazingly good in extreme applications. For example, they’re exceptionally functional when protection from earthquakes, hurricanes and other violent acts of nature is needed.

Yet it’s SteelMaster customers’ ability to apply these products in creative ways that makes it possible for Facebook to create leads. SteelMaster’s customers have always been good at finding insanely creative ways to apply their products—nifty steel buildings. Facebook simply offers the ability for others to witness the remarkable, meaningful ways customers are applying products.

Here’s how the success of current customers is resulting in leads on Facebook. When prospects witness an existing customer’s success firsthand, it:

plants a seed in their minds (“Hey, maybe I could use this kind of product to solve my problem”); and

gives “can-do” confidence to prospects (“Hey, that looks simple, affordable and actually doable, without much risk or hassle”).

Designing to Sell: Incentivizing Storytelling
SteelMaster is giving customers incentives to tell stories that spread quickly and provoke new customer prospects to contact the company.

You might want to read that last half again, because that’s the part most of us miss.

SteelMaster’s customers run the gamut, from everyday people to farmers to movie set designers to small businesses and global nonprofits who need reliable housing solutions in extreme conditions.

The uses for SteelMaster’s products are visually intriguing. They tell many kinds of unique stories, spanning dozens of countries and languages. Sure, the company specializes in serving specific industrial markets. But there is no limit to the creative applications by the company’s customers.

This is how the business discovered Facebook was a hotbed of lead generation activity just waiting to happen.

People love to tell their success stories. Think about the last time you assembled something that you weren’t actually sure you could put together. We humans tend to be interested in showing off our finished creations. And this is especially the case with SteelMaster, considering how so many of its customers are do-it-yourselfers.

Jeff Molander is the authority on making social media sell. He co-founded what became the Google Affiliate Network and Performics Inc., where he built the sales team. Today, he is the authority on effective prospecting communications techniques as founder of Communications Edge Inc. (formerly Molander & Associates Inc.) He's been in sales for over 2 decades. He is author of the first social selling book, Off the Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You.Jeff is a sales communications coach and creator of the Spark Selling technique—a means to spark more conversations with customers 'from cold,' speeding them toward qualification.
Publish date: June 1, 2013 https://dev.adweek.com/performance-marketing/how-steelmaster-buildings-gets-b-to-b-sales-facebook/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT