With Hybrid-Working likely to be around for the long-term, prospects have never been further away, yet social media has bought them closer than ever before. Every good sales professional knows that social media provides a unique opportunity to connect with prospects and customers, making it an integral part of sales success, however, it goes well beyond updating your LinkedIn profile and uploading some posts.
What is Social Selling?
Social selling is the process of researching, connecting, and interacting with prospects and customers on social media to create relationships with them. Tactics such as commenting on, liking, and sharing prospects posts are a good start but by creating useful, value-based content, salespeople can boost their credibility and create deeper relationships with buyers.
Data shows that top-performing sales professionals, who close deals 51% more than their peers, consider social networking platforms “very important” to their success. Additionally, social selling leaders create 45% more opportunities. When done correctly, social selling can nurture leads, shorten the sales cycles and increase your close rates.
To help you smash those sales goals, Part 1 in our social selling series will give you the principles you need to follow to nail social selling from day one.
1. Focus on Creating Relationships
This is the most critical skill and possibly the hardest to master. Let’s face it, nobody likes the idea of being ‘sold’ to, especially on social channels – it’s not what your audiences uses them for. People are inundated with adverts as it is, so you must focus on using social media as a way to connect, inform and add value to your prospects. In doing so, being genuine and genuinely interested is critical to your success.
2. Serve Their Interests, Not Yours
Showing you are real and focusing on establishing a genuine relationship is, without doubt, the best approach but you need to demonstrate and add value before anyone is going to trust what’s being said. Asking yourself “how can I help you?” instead of “what can I sell you?” allows you to put your prospects needs ahead of your own. Providing useful information or insights that can help them simply out of goodwill will increase your chances of developing lucrative relationships.
3. Research, Research, Research
When you decide to reach out to another business via social media, you must research your target audience beforehand. Understanding the companies you intend to sell to and their needs will put you ahead of the game enabling you to communicate in a way that’s unique and specific to those organisations.
4. It’s Better To Give
Sharing ideas and useful information is what social media is all about, and you need to give far more than you receive to be successful. This means the majority of posts need to be value-driven, with useful information that’s designed to help your target audience. It’s also advisable to spend a good proportion of time sharing other people’s content that might be relevant and useful to them, leaving helpful comments.
5. Schedule Content
Content Marketing experts have a content schedule to ensure the right information is being posted consistently. For you to be successful, you should have one too. By posting regularly and consistently with timing and branding you will increase the chances of prospects getting to know you and gain greater trust in you, your content and your company.
6. Interact Regularly
To be effective at social selling, you need to interact with connections and prospects regularly. In doing so, it’s essential to add value consistently and become a trusted resource in your industry. By offering solutions, providing relevant information, sharing success stories, giving useful advice you can start conversations about topics your prospects care about. It’s also paramount those interactions are genuine and are not sales focused. Using content to start conversations with your network to build genuine relationships is a great strategy but be mindful to let them reach a natural conclusion.
7. Use The Other Channels
The best sales professionals don’t just limit their communication with prospects to one social channel. If you are connected on LinkedIn and interact there regularly, don’t think you can’t also be connected on Facebook or Twitter. You may find that contacts and prospects are more relaxed and sociable on other channels, making it easy to continue to maintain strong levels of rapport.
8. Don’t Neglect Existing Customers
In the quest for new sales, it can be easy to neglect existing customers on social media, but that would be a costly mistake. Given that it’s five times more expensive and time-consuming to win a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. If you have good customers who have bought from your company once, they will likely buy again, but it can’t just be assumed they will.
You must nurture these relationships. Take the time to research their social media profiles and bios to get an understanding of what problems they have that you might be able to help them resolve and then use relevant content to keep them engaged and open to discussions.
9. Test, Test, Test
Every expert marketing professional takes an iterative approach; testing, tracking and measuring content against results to understand what is working and what isn’t. If you want to improve your chances of sales success then you need to do the same. Understanding what isn’t working for you is a great way to save time and maximise ROI with social selling, enabling you to adjust your messaging and platforms accordingly.