There is one aspect of successful selling that will never change: the importance of building personal, trusting relationships. When a seller doesn’t engage socially early on with consumers, there is a chance that they have lost the sale already. Social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn can truly be a valuable resource if you can tame the massive amount of information to separate the social buying signals from useless noise.
It is important to understand that by the time a consumer reaches out to your sales team, they are already 2/3 of the way through their decision making process. At this point, buyers have already seen as more information than you could possibly given them.
Knowing how important connecting through social is to closing the sale, sales reps need to do their research. Knowing more about a prospective buyer on a more personal level gives you an edge and can help you to have more meaningful interactions. Social insights also give you an inside view into a buyer’s perspective at that given time and helps you to know what is important to them.
Here are some more tips to get your sales team pointed in the right direction when it comes to getting social.
- Personalize your sales pitches – The term social selling can be misleading Think about it as networking and building personal relationships; try to avoid making it sound like you are selling. Social selling according to the Aberdeen Group is defined as the utilization of one of these three techniques:
- Social Collaboration: Create a pool of knowledge on how to generate more leads by sharing information internally or with partners
- External Listening: Gathering of information and content produced by clients and prospects and interpreting this information to generate more leads
- External Participation: Building relationships and impacting buying decisions through the distribution of relevant content to prospects
- Become an industry expert – Do more than just be your customers sales rep, become their partner through delivering knowledge and helpful content that teaches and guides your customer’s decision making process. This creates a stronger sense of trust between you and your buyer. Colleen Francis of Engage Selling Solutions said, “Today, no one buys from sales people, they only buy from experts. And buyers are actively searching for thought leaders and experts daily.” It is your job to reach out socially and be the trusted expert they are looking for.
- Get a head start on building a relationship by using digital signals – To be a successful sales rep, you need to keep an eye on social channels and engage with prospective buyers whenever you can. Give them a reason to jump-start of conversation. The social triggers you are looking for can be anything from a birthday or promotion to a company receiving funding or engaging in a new initiative.
- Connect, connect, connect – When it comes to social selling, according to social selling thought leader, Jill Rowley, it’s not “Always be closing” – it’s “Always be connecting.” Who are your top customers and prospects? Connect with everyone in these companies on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social sites. This gives you a foot in the door when it comes to making the sale. Potential buyers will notice when an entire company is following them. But keep in mind, you need to do your research before you connect. Your connection needs context and doing a little research beforehand can go a long way.