Everyone would like to sell more. Not everyone knows exactly how. The answer may be right at your finger tips. Social Selling increases your reach enabling you to sell more by leveraging the trusted relationships you’ve built up over the last month, year or your entire career.
All selling is social. Always has been. Always will be. Before Social Media, people bought from people in social ways. Today, we have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more to connect with prospects and customers during each stage of the buying process.
Many businesses and their salespeople don’t feel ready. To help you get ready and take action, I’ve compiled a list of 21 ways to engage your network for referrals and leads:
1. Always start with a plan.
Set clear goals. Here are some examples:
- Grow my network by 100 connections this month
- Engage with 20% of my network each month
- Convert 20 conversations into leads this month
- Track leads each week
- Earn 5 referrals this month
2. Take advantage of free real estate.
Fill out every one of your social profiles completely. You must put your best face forward in all sales situations and Social Selling is no different. Get yourself a great profile pic and keep it the same for each platform. Marketing is about a consistent message and that includes your ‘ personal brand.’ If you’re not good at writing your bio (most of us aren’t), hire someone to do it. It’s reasonable and it’s the first place after your profile pic that people will go to check you out.
3. Seek out like-minded individuals and groups on social platforms.
What do you like to do on your days off? Whatever that is, there’s a community for it. Engage people in conversations (do not try to sell to them right out of the shoot!). There’ll be plenty of time for that later on.
4. Practice the art of conversation.
If you were thrown into a professional environment where your life depended on getting to know people in the room, would you be able to do that? Your life does depend on your ability to converse with people – it’s how you make a living as a salesperson. Introverts can master this too. How do I know? Because I’m an introvert.
5. Consume content from bloggers that inspire you and post comments regularly.
Make the best of your downtime and spend 20 minutes a day reading inspiring content from bloggers you love. Engage them by asking questions. Share their posts to your network. Develop relationships from the inspiration you’ve experienced.
6. Be the first one in every relationship to provide value.
Online or offline, the right kind of leverage in a relationship allows you to extract value over time. How does one acquire that kind of leverage? Be the first person in the relationship to provide value.
7. Be a storyteller.
Storytelling makes your marketing and networking come alive. You can be like everyone else….or you can figure out what you do better than anyone else and tell your story.
8. Capture the attention of people on your Facebook.
Chances are you’ve already started building a network on Facebook. Share at least 2 relevant, interesting, helpful status updates per day on Facebook and engage at least 10 times per day with your network. I’ve had many salespeople and managers say they sold a car (or two, or ten) to someone they know on Facebook.
9. Show another side of your personality on Instagram.
Here’s your chance to tell a visual story.
10. Post content from your blog (or other people’s blogs) on LinkedIn at least twice a day.
LinkedIn is doing some really cool stuff. Like all social networks, when you share great content and engage, you move up in search results.
11. Reply to other people’s tweets.
Show that you’re interested in the things that other people have to say. It encourages them to check out your profile and content.
12. Use video in creative ways to show your personality, not just your products.
Here’s another great way to tell your story. If you feel comfortable in front of the camera, use it to your advantage. People want to know about the products you sell but they also want to know about you. They’re looking for ways to trust you. Give them some.
13. Share content on Google+ that’s relevant to your customers’ needs and interests.
Not everyone connects on G+ but if you do, build a trusted network there. Google will notice.
14. Develop your Ask.
Whether it’s a referral you’re looking for, a lead you’ve been chatting with or asking for online reviews from your current customers, everyone needs to work up their mojo to ask for what they want. Practice makes profit. Your repeat customers are ideal to ask, “Who do you know who…..” They’ll sing your praises to their network.
15. Don’t discount offline opportunities.
Are you involved with a charity, church, youth sports or other offline events and causes? If you are, set a goal of getting to know someone better in the group. Offer up meeting for coffee or a drink. If you’re not involved with a group offline, Meetup.com has hundreds of choices with all types of activities in your area.
16. Never underestimate the power of repeat customers as advocates.
Asking for testimonials should be in your plan. Connecting with your repeat customers on Social Media is a great way to stay in touch. Social Selling is not about you saying how great you are – the power lies in when others say it.
17. Be a teacher.
Content is a sales tool. Excellent content is all about teaching. Keep your ego out of the equation, and always put your buyer first. What do they want to know? What do they need to know? Write the answers to every possible question they might have about our product, service, industry. Great tip: Write down the 50 most frequently asked questions your sales people get from prospects and buyers. Now write 50 blog posts.
18. Always respect your contacts. Never try to sell to people who’ve never heard of you.
Just today, I was spammed by someone on LinkedIn. They sent me a message to join their “professional” religious group. The person who sent it is not connected with me nor am I interested in their fee-based group. If you do this, it shows prospects that you spent zero time getting to know them before you reached out and tried to sell them something. Take your time, build trust by working your plan.
19. Build loyalty.
Respond quickly if a customer has a complaint. When you’re responsive, open, willing to listen and take action to rectify a customer’s issue, your network (and theirs) will witness it. You’ll solidify your standing as a trustworthy seller who cares about your customers.
20. Connect using humor.
The shortest distance between two people is a laugh.
21. Be helpful.
This one sounds really simplistic but I want you to think about being helpful in every sales situation you come into. Solving problems and sharing important information that only you, with your expertise, can deliver. With your core intention to be helpful, you’ll touch many more people’s lives and create the impact you’re hoping for with Social Selling. Do you feel ready now to take the plunge with Social Selling? If you’d like to know more or get in-depth guidance for your sales team, click here.