Every salesperson (and their boss) wants to sell more. The opportunities available with social media are vast, however, to leverage social media successfully and turn it into a referral engine takes deliberate action, consistency and perseverance. Social selling works, but only if you work it.
Social Selling as Urban Legend
I’ve been seeing and participating in some lively conversations online debating what social selling actually is. The “urban legend” that is social selling is producing many myths under construction around the topic.
In these discussions, it became clear to me that while everyone agrees there is power in social media, many are confused about or not ready to do the work to make social selling pay off.
I see salespeople using old media tactics on new media social channels (ie: Facebook, LinkedIn), posting their “best deal” and somehow believing that their friends or network want to see that. Social media is not for blasting “advertisements” about the products you sell.
The best social salespeople are content marketers too.
90% of customers start their purchase with a search engine (Forrester Research). When they search for your business or your salespeople, what do they find? Providing the type of content that gets you found early in the buying process on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Search is the secret sauce to differentiate yourself and beat the competition.
If you’re a salesperson considering venturing out onto social media, or you’re the boss who thinking about incorporating social selling in your sales process, there’s important information you need so you don’t fail before you’ve had a chance to succeed.
What Social Selling Is
- Social Selling is Strategy First
- If you’re a salesperson, it starts with your personal brand. Values, vision, target audience and purpose to serve – these are things that allow you to connect with your customers. These are also things that create an experience.
- If you’re the boss, it starts with a process of turning salespeople (and customer-facing employees) into social advocates. It’s embedding social media marketing within your sales process.
- Social Selling is strategically positioning your people to be there with the customer before they buy.
The best social selling teams are content creators; delivering the right content to the right customer on the right channel at the right time of the sales cycle. Research shows customers’ native behavior includes searching, consuming content and self-educating.
- Social Selling is Culture
Culture today is about authenticity. As the leader, your company culture is only as valuable as your personal role in it.
- Social Selling is Communication
By placing communication and customer experience before sales pitches, salespeople can retain happy, loyal clients and attract new customers through modern-day means.
- Social Selling is successful WIIFM
Only about 20% of your salespeople will buy into the value of social media. The other 80% are not just sitting around waiting for you to give them more work to do. Your entire team will need to understand and embrace how creating relevant content helps THEM, not you.
- Social Selling is Building a Referral Network
Helping customers navigate their purchase and converting leads are your ultimate goals however, the power of social media to develop referral relationships cannot be ignored. Word of mouth is still the best marketing ever and social media enhances it ten-fold.
What Social Selling is NOT
- Social Selling is Not Self-Promotion.
“When your personal brand is driven by your inflated ego and not by the value produced, you turn yourself into a commodity.” Koka Sexton, Social Selling leader, LinkedIn
Successful social salespeople have an inherent sense of self-awareness and position themselves with a plan that includes “who I work for”. Personal branding isn’t about separating employee & employer, it’s to create differentiation (standing out in the crowd) for a win – for both salesperson and the company they work for.
- Social Selling is not jumping into what you see other people doing without understanding why you want to do it.
It’s not putting up a Facebook page, Twitter account or YouTube video without a solid “brand strategy.”
How will you be different enough to attract and engage? With or without a plan, you’re showing up as a brand. Originals are always worth more than the replica.
- Social Selling is not publishing random social media posts or blog content.
For both salespeople and the companies they work for, that means no social movement without knowing what your brand stands for. Everything you post should compliment your brand’s identity.
- Social Selling is not jumping in without tracking your results.
What do you want to achieve? What time frame have you allowed yourself? How will you track your results and tie them back to your goals?
- Social Selling is not treating a sale as a transaction.
Indeed, sales are opportunities for referrals…and more sales.
Now than you know what social selling is and isn’t, you may feel like the time is right to take action. I encourage you to make a plan and figure out how you’ll know if it’s working. Time and effort spent on social media increases referrals, leads and sales…but only if you work it.
Contact us when you’re ready to add social selling to your sales process–> HERE