Social selling is a sales revolution. If you thought being warm and fuzzy on social media was the preserve of the marketing bods, think again. The way people buy and consume, even B2B, has changed and that means the way we sell things has to change too. No one likes how a cold call makes them feel—building a relationship over time on social media is a far more effective way to convert someone into a long-term loyal customer. So how do you go about it?
Why make the change to social selling?
The way clients buy products and services has evolved. Most commercial purchasing decisions involve more than one person and with the advent of the internet, customers are able to research their buying decisions incredibly thoroughly. Gaining an immediate sale via a cold call is becoming more and more difficult. This boils down to two main reasons to make the change to social selling:
- People might not remember what you say in a cold call but they’ll remember how it made them feel.
- Businesses today have changed the way they buy, so we need to change the way we sell.
The four steps to successful social selling
Social selling is now a more effective way to secure sales than old-fashioned cold calling—and there are four stages to undertaking it successfully.
- Create your professional brand on your social platform of choice. For B2B selling, LinkedIn is the obvious choice, but your target audience may also be on Facebook and Twitter, so start with some research. Remember, this is your brand as a sales and marketing professional, not your company page. Use your space on LinkedIn to share and like content and connect with people. Get your name out there.
- Find the people you want to sell to and don’t waste time with people that just want to chat or can’t make decisions. Find the right people and learn insights about them from their own profiles. You can discover where they worked before, if you have common connections, what interests they have and what organisations they support.
- Use the insights you discover to engage at a personal level. Whatever you’re selling, your competitors will be there alongside you, so you want to differentiate your message from the rest. Think about how you can make your communication more compelling—and this is what really lies at the core of social selling. Use the insights on people’s profiles to tailor your message and make a personal connection.
- Don’t go in with a heavy sales pitch on your first encounter. Build and nurture the relationship. Most sales come three or six months down the road, so connect, stay in touch, share your prospects’ content and comment on their posts. This means you’ll be there when they’re ready to buy.