You probably hear a lot of discussion about content marketing for marketers and ways it can help your brand. But what approach can sales professionals utilize? Something known to many sales professionals today is how we connect and engage with buyers using a technique called social selling.
Social selling isn’t a buzzword nor is it a new concept. In fact, social selling has been around for a long time but because of technology, the concept has changed a little. Our selling behavior has not changed, but what has changed is how we communicate. Selling has always been social regardless of the channel. We simply have added another channel that we can communicate with our prospects and customers, which is through the use of social media. Sales professionals have learned to adapt and evolve to this new framework. So what exactly is social selling?
Social Selling Defined
Social selling is about sales professionals building a strong personal brand and relationships in your market with the goal to benefit and influence. It is more than just using social networks as a tool to sell your brand. However, social media has opened more doors for communicating your brand to buyers.
You can think of social selling as a way to break the ice for prospects. You engage with those of common interests. Social selling should be an approach for building one-on-one relationships. But before you can use social selling as an approach you must first establish a strong personal brand. Your personal brand is something that everyone sees including current customers, prospects, and competitors. Once your personal brand has been established you can proceed to social selling. Social selling consists of three stages:
- Finding new connections
- Sharing powerful and relevant content or insights
- Engaging with others
Your brand should use content to tell a powerful story. You can think of content as a type of currency because it adds value for your buyers. Content educates and informs the buyer. Your job as a social seller is to build a strong personal brand so that buyers know who you are. You can create more opportunities with a strong personal brand because of trust.
Today people have information at their fingertips. Buyers can easily find information about a company and the products they offer. They can learn about both the good and bad things from places such as online forums or social media. This will allow them to trust you and will help build your connections and relationships.
Cold calling is no longer a practical solution for sales professionals. They have a low success rate so it is advised that you find other methods with a higher conversion, such as social selling. When you use social media as a social selling tool, sales professionals can communicate with prospects without disrupting their daily lives because they are already online. With this delightful convenience, you have a higher chance at converting these prospects into loyal customers.
My Prospects Aren’t Social
So what if your prospects aren’t social? As I mentioned earlier, all selling is a social approach. However, if your prospects are not online nor on social media, your social selling approach can still function. You simply will have to use a different method. Matt Heinz from Heinz Marketing discuses 6 ways to use social selling for those who aren’t online.
1. Listen for buying signals from elsewhere in the organization
2. Follow and listen to their peers
3. Follow their company
4. Follow their competitors
5. Use Google alerts, Ofunnel and LinkedIn to watch their activity online anywhere
Benefits of Social Selling
Social selling allows you to receive more leads when you connect with others. This approach forces you to research information about your prospective customers. You must know their interests and needs prior to engaging with them. By doing so, this will increase your sales productivity. One of the benefits of social selling is that it promotes your brand as one that is trustworthy and valuable. Additionally, social selling creates relationships based on common interests and goal to find a solution.
Social selling does not eliminate traditional sales methods. In hindsight, it can actually enhance the sales professionals skills and method of selling. Social selling is great approach for gaining prospective clients through online engagement.
Does your brand utilize a social selling approach?