If your company isn’t leveraging social selling, you’re losing opportunities…and likely handing sales to your competitors.
Social selling isn’t a buzzword, it’s a tactic successful sales teams use to communicate with their prospects. When you hear “social media,” you probably think about your friends sharing pictures of their dogs or kids, checking in to their favorite restaurant, posting a filtered photo of their dinner on Instagram, or live tweeting #TheBachelor or the Super Bowl.
It’s time to rethink social media. It’s no longer just about being social. Now, it’s about social selling.
Social Selling Isn’t Selling
Social selling doesn’t replace traditional sales tactics. It’s simply a different avenue or approach for establishing and furthering relationships with influencers and prospects via social.
Building a strong presence on social communities that your prospects frequent can open doors that tie back to the bottom line. In fact, 78 percent of salespeople using social media perform better than their peers.
Some people think social selling means tweeting a pitch, or sending a proposal via InMail. Given the name that makes sense. However, social selling should really be called social nurturing.
Examples of social nurturing tactics include:
- Listening and joining industry conversations
- Seeking recommendation requests within your product/industry category
- Monitoring industry trends and competitive insights
- Understanding and listening to buying signals
- Sharing a prospect or client’s latest blog post, product launch or company announcement on social
Sold yet? Great! To get you started, I’ve compiled three social nurturing best practices:
A big chunk of effective social selling is using social listening tools to gather insights about your prospects. Understand the voice of your customer by listening closely to them before engaging.
Would you give a presentation without preparing? No. You research your audience ahead of time so you understand their interests and priorities. Building a relationship starts with understanding what makes the person tick.
Once you understand your audience’s interests, curate content that speaks to them. Through listening, you will have the insights you need to establish a common ground when you initiate dialogue.
When it comes to creating original content, sales reps are busy, well, selling. Understandably, you don’t have a whole lot of time to publish a post. Good news: you don’t have to.
Curate articles that discuss a topic of relevance to your target audience, while adding your own insights. Be sure to include links and mention the author when you share on social. Chances are, they may thank you for sharing.
Social selling puts you in a better position to create an authentic “pitch.” (Again, we’re not pitching via social – take it off Twitter!) Prospects want to work with people they know and trust. Craft a genuine connection with your prospects by engaging with and nurturing your audience.
Listen and respond to what others are sharing. The golden rule “treat others how you want to be treated” remains true in the socialsphere. Make it a point to take 20 minutes each day to leave comments or Like posts from others; it’s a great way to get “facetime.”
Today, there are 1.5 billion active users on social media. That means your brand influencers, prospects and clients are available at your fingertips, 24/7. If you’re not listening and engaging with them, someone else is.
Social media is more than just the newest way to stay in touch with friends, but it isn’t a place where people should seek seek transactions. Instead, use social to build relationships, nurture your audience and help social make a bottom-line impact.