Social selling is a hot concept in the sales world today, particularly in the technology market.
Many may mistakenly think that social selling means selling only using social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. However it is important to know that social selling is more than sending out a sales-y tweet or creating a marketing Facebook page.
Social selling is about building strong relationships with potential customers based on empathy and relatability, it is about applying good old selling principles in a new way. This goes beyond simply opening a corporate social media account.
Think of social media as the vehicle through which and tool you can use to facilitate social selling. Partnering effective social selling strategies with popular social media platforms is what social selling should be about.
But you need to know more than just that to effectively implement social selling in your organization’s sales and business development team.
Below we go through effective strategies for being a successful social seller.
Listen via social media for prospecting and preparation:Everyone is trying to sell something to someone in today’s world. Sales noise is everywhere and your potential customers know this. One report has stated that 90% of CEO’s no longer answer cold calls or cold emails. However social media is new enough that it still has impact. For example 75% of B2B decision makers use social media to inform their decisions. Social media is a good bridge on which to connect with those who would have previously ignored you. However to differentiate yourself from all those jumping on to the social media bandwagon you can do one key thing: listen. Don’t just start pitching to your target clients. Instead find out what they are tweeting, posting or blogging about. What are their likes and dislikes? Create private lists of your prospective customers and follow them regularly. Find out questions and discussions they initiated on LinkedIn, see what hashtags they’re using on Twitter. Learn who your prospective clients follow as well to ascertain what kind of content, communications style and personas they gravitate towards. Through this you find topics and areas of interest to your prospective clients which you can raise to broach a conversation with them on social media. Listening to their interests and preferences makes the eventual conversation you have with them on social media more organic. It also gives you the deeper understanding and sense of empathy for your potential customer that social selling entails.
Align contact on social with significant events:We’ve established that part of social selling is knowing your target customer. Part of this entails knowing about significant corporate events that may be a good trigger for creating a sales opportunity. Relevant events could include a company acquisition, senior management hire, product launch, new venture capital round or geographical expansion. You can firstly use sales intelligence tools to create watch lists to identify and inform you of such events. Secondly identify key players associated with the event within the corporation. Then find them on social media and reach out with a tweet or useful link that relates to the event or gives helpful information. This will show you to be a knowledgeable sales person as well as someone who took the time to be interested in significant corporate developments.
Present yourself as a credible authority:It is important to have a history online and on social media that showcases your knowledge and positions you as a credible source for industry information and expertise. If you try to tweet at a potential client and they Google you and don’t find any information or just your personal Facebook profile picture then you are losing a chance to highlight your expertise. Try using blog posts, discussion forums on LinkedIn and Twitter hashtags to create an online presence that reflects positively on you and your professional ability and also speaks to potential clients. If it is between talking to a sales person with an extensive and impressive online presence via published online articles, blog posts and intelligent comments in discussion threads versus another sales person who has only posted cat videos, the CEO or executive will more likely call the person with the online presence. Beyond this seeing your useful posts, insightful blog entries and popular articles will establish you as an authority on your field, not just another person looking to make a sales commission. This will lead your potential client to trust you as a passionate and helpful professional whom they can reach out to without risking being subjected to sales tactics. Creating trust between yourself and the potential customer is another key element of creating the empathy that goes into social selling. Those looking to buy like interacting with contacts who are knowledgeable. A LinkedIn study found that 92% of B2B buyers were more likely to buy from someone who was known as a thought leader in their industry.
Social selling is more than just using social media accounts. It is applying selling principles to social media and using it as a tool through which to facilitate sales. Also remember that having precise and actionable data on your customers using tools such a Givex loyalty program is very useful. Through this you can get information on your customers’ demographics and target similar consumers using your social selling skills.
Use these techniques to master social selling and benefit your business.