Still on the fence about implementing a process for Social Selling within your company? Maybe you’re looking for more proof to have your sales team be more Social. With numbers as high as 70% of the sales process done by the time a prospect contacts you, the time is now to turn your salespeople into savvy Social sellers.
Technology has transformed the way we buy. It continues to replace outdated sales tactics. Just like before the phone or email were widely accepted, many are skeptical and stuck to their old comfortable ways. But things are moving too fast today and if you don’t have a sales process that includes Social Selling then you’re leaving money on the table.
It’s true, not every salesperson will adapt easily to every facet of the Social Selling process but many of your salespeople may already be working social media to attract customers. They’ve recognized the benefits of leveraging their network to connect with prospects, foster those relationships, and create digital word-of-mouth for themselves.
If you can’t quite see the value yet, check out these 6 benefits of Social Selling that you’d be crazy to miss out on:
1. Shortened Sales Cycle
Research happens online and drives offline sales. According to this study, the research phase in vehicle purchases has been dramatically shrinking over time. 80% of surveyed customers stated that they performed the whole pre-purchase research within eight weeks. Social channels can be the catalyst for those purchase intentions. Nearly 70% of respondents stated they spent more time online than offline for pre-purchase information gathering, with a relevant number researching online only.
Buyers are engaging in online communities, asking questions from their peers to provide feedback on products, and researching solutions prior to any sales conversations. With a process for Social Selling, your salespeople can be in a position to listen and monitor what’s being said and respond to the conversations through thoughtful, value-added responses (not with sales pitches).
2. Reputation Management
We’ve all heard by now that between 80-95% of buyers’ decisions are influenced by online reviews. Studies show that more and more, buyers are not only researching your business they’re researching your salespeople. Have you ever done a Google search on your salespeople? It would be good to know what your prospects see when they search.
With a process for Social Selling (and training to go with it), if/when a buyer Google’s your salesperson, their optimized, well-planned Social profiles speak for them before anyone else does.
There’s even a site started by a respected car guy I know called DealerPick.com that offers choices to the customer, “You pick the salesperson. The salesperson doesn’t pick you.”
3. Lead Generation
Generating new revenue opportunities is getting harder. Cold calling is dying. People are clicking on banner ads less and less. One of the benefits of Social Selling is that once your salespeople have established their social presence, they can monitor, listen, and engage in conversations around the products and services the company sells.
I recently witnessed a conversation on Twitter by one of my dealer marketing clients. He was monitoring the #Lexus hashtag for sales opportunities. He came across a local user who was having trouble with his car’s battery and had tweeted about it. My client reached out to him, offered help, and the customer came into the store that day. They got him what he needed and turns out that his lease is expiring in a few months. What better way to develop the path to the sale than by providing assistance when the customer really needs it?
4. Customer Retention
Every business would like to maintain and grow a loyal customer base. However, most revert to manipulative marketing to get the transaction “in the books”. The point is to get them coming back again and again – not buying once and then disappearing forever.
Social Selling allows your salespeople to maintain contact with your recent and past customers in a very non-invasive way. Sharing helpful content and answering people’s burning questions inspires customer loyalty. Attracting repeat customers costs 5-7 times less than what it takes to attract a new one. Focus your customer retention programs around helping your salespeople produce the right kind of content that keeps your customers coming back for more.
5. Increased Productivity
The number don’t lie: 79% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers.
If your customer is online, and your products are online, shouldn’t your salespeople be online?
6. A Sense of Attachment = Sales
When your salespeople are connected with customers through social media, it adds a layer of familiarity to each transaction. These transactions are not one-way streets. Each sale is an exchange between people. When a relationship is established, the customer experience improves. People that rave about their experience tell others about it. The benefits of Social Selling culminate in referral business.