Digital retailing (in whatever form it manifests for you) is an integral part of revenue building during these unprecedented times. Communicating with customers and conducting business online is not going away anytime soon, which means that salespeople need to navigate the online world as well as they do over the phone or in-person. For salespeople who want to up their game, Social Selling is the next step.
Social Selling is the act of developing referrals, leads and sales using social media.
It’s difficult for most sales directors and managers to introduce Social Selling into their sales process due to two main obstacles:
- The varying stages of social media aptitude within a sales team.
- Sales management acceptance of social media as a selling tool.
Sales managers themselves are often new to social media and some flat-out deny its value. However, I maintain that when given the right tools and information, they will come around.
In order to turn a sales team into Social Selling ninjas, specific techniques are introduced which complement the sales process without disrupting the overall flow of sales production.
There’s a large contingency of sales directors, managers and salespeople out there right now who are completely satisfied with the status quo. They seem to eke out a month of barely-sufficient income to tide them over to the next month, where it all begins again. They prefer the current state of affairs and hang onto it like their childhood blankie.
There’s a smaller, more proficient group of ninja warriors who make it their mission to challenge the status quo in order to succeed and shine. These are the superstars who consistently look for better ways to sell. They’re interested in becoming Influencers to improve their sales performance.
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Social Selling in action.
Ask anyone who’s been using social media to generate more business and they will tell you it works.
I have a car dealership client who permits (and encourages) Social Selling with their sales team. They’ve been doing it for a few years now and every salesperson who has adopted Social Selling techniques sells between 8 and 12 cars per month more than they would without it.
Does it take a lot of their time? They say, yes, in the beginning, but soon they are able to fold it into their daily sales process and it becomes a habit. They say, “It’s worth the effort because I sell more cars.”
If you’re a sales manager, it’s worth exploring Social Selling with your team.
COVID-19 has changed the way we do business forever. Customers already didn’t really enjoy dealing with salespeople at the dealership and now it takes an even more focused effort on the sales process.
With Social Selling, you can provide more options for your customers and engage them during their purchase cycle – not just at the time they want to buy – thereby boosting your chances of making the sale.
Sales managers tend to look at potential customers as “deals” rather than as people with unique situations to be addressed. They’re rarely flexible to a new way of selling a product. (Does this sound familiar?)
It’s a simple choice of whether you want to win – because your competitor is trying to figure out this online sales world right now.
If you choose to be a winner, you’ll need a process to train your team and motivate them to Social Selling success.
5 Secrets to Turn a Sales Team Into Social Selling Ninjas
1. Identify and Leverage Your Superstars
Do the salespeople on your team simply go through the motions or are they proactive about developing relationships online? Great managers identify and leverage those team members who embed their unique personality into the customer’s shopping journey.
Ways to spot Social Selling Ninjas in the wild:
- Their social profiles are complete – including an “About” section that accomplishes everything a greeting, handshake and an elevator pitch would do in person.
- They post informative, timely, sometimes entertaining and often sharable content on their social media.
- They practice daily steps to engage their network such as liking and commenting on other’s social media posts.
- They illustrate the steps taken to ensure the customer will feel safe visiting the store and taking a test drive.
- They embed themselves and videos into post-sale testimonials with the customer.
- They retain photos of clients and share messages with them months later, letting them know they’re thinking of them.
- They publish information-packed updates on social media to stay connected with customers and referral partners.
- They actively ask for referrals in a friendly, respectful way (this includes asking for online reviews).
- They leverage Facebook “Buy, Sell, Trade” groups to offer specials and make yourself known.
- They pay attention to their online “Personal Brand” by Googling themselves to make sure what’s being said is accurate.
Salespeople (and managers) must see themselves as marketers of their Personal Brand. Adding that personal touch really brings it to the finish line.
The salesperson who fosters connection and engages during each stage of the buying cycle remains influential when it’s time to buy.
2. Reward Networking Tenacity and Accomplishments
Whether online or offline, networking is crucial to sales. Networking is the nucleus of Social Selling.
Savvy sales managers hire social salespeople who bring a network with them. Successful networking means wherever you go, you have a trusted referral network to fall back on and managers should reward those on their team who excel.
Demonstrating expertise is a great way to network. It’s one thing to connect with a prospect or current customer on social media. It’s another to keep them engaged. The key is solid evidence that you’re a trusted resource and posting evidence of that is what keeps people coming back.
Sales managers can offer a monthly reward for the best post-sale testimonial video or best visual evidence of great customer experience. Publishing this type of content on social networks strengthens credibility and optimizes referrals.
3. Recognize Online Influence
I recently had a friend purchase a vehicle based on the online reputation of the salesperson. More specifically, the salesperson had great reviews on Yelp and Google and that was the deciding factor for my friend’s purchase.
In order to recognize your team’s influence, start by having each salesperson Google themselves. Positive or negative, you and your team need to see what your consumers are seeing.
If nothing’s being said, well then that’s a solid opportunity for improvement.
The most common way that salespeople are found online is through social channels and online reviews. If you haven’t already, create and implement an internal process to capture your happy, loyal customers’ opinions. Salespeople must understand how these reviews can influence other customer’s buying choices and that a mention could make the difference in the sale.
With all employee initiatives, there’s a WIIFM (What’s in it for me) component that should be addressed before you launch. Managers must instill WHY online reviews and social profiles are important. Never force them to just do what you say – the result always has a negative impact.
Instead, recognize each team member when they get a positive reaction in a review or social context. You can also recognize negative reactions as a learning tool in your training process.
4. Track Metrics & Leads from Social Channels
The further you drill down into the metrics of social media performance, the better equipped you are to educate your team and increase sales. Chances are you track each salesperson’s performance – their follow up, productivity, closing ratios, etc. Why not track their prospects and leads via social?
Begin by setting your social marketing/advertising goals as a company. Here are the top 5 we use at Kruse Control:
- Growth of fans/followers
Now, drill down further with each salesperson:
- Noteworthy connections
- Important referral partnerships
- Events attended or presentations (online and offline)
- Prospects in the pipeline
- Referrals (Leads)
5. Check in at Sales Meetings
Your success as a sales manager depends greatly on your ability to motivate the team to meet their goals. In every sales meeting, you cover where you are and where you want to be with your team. Follow up with each salesperson on the results of their Social Selling.
Some of our clients have instituted spiff programs for best testimonials and mentions in 4/5 star online reviews. Checking in each week via the sales meeting is a great way to “gamify” your goals.
People do business with salespeople who have provided solid evidence that other customers like them and trust them. Use these 5 secrets to turn your sales team into Social Selling ninjas so that once in the pipeline, your customers are certain they’ve made the right choice.
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