Everyone wants to be remarkable. Every salesperson wants to be the ONE who customers choose, over and over again. But many salespeople are lost with today’s technology. The advancements in social media and content management platforms have made it easier than ever to engage and stay connected with customers. There’s never been a better time to incorporate Social Selling into your sales process but if you’re a beginner, it’s a scary place.
79% of salespeople who use social media as a sales tool, outsell those who don’t.
It’s easy to fall into the familiarity trap when performing your job. You go to work, you do your job and you go home. Complacency sets in and the next thing you know, leads and referrals dry up and you’ve got nothing in the pipeline.
All Social Selling starts with a customer-centric mindset.
What makes a good salesperson?
Great salespeople have two distinct qualities: empathy and ego-drive. In Social Selling, it’s the optimal balance of these two qualities that determines who wins the sale…and who doesn’t.
The need to conquer is also a valuable quality. It makes salespeople want and need to make the sale in a personal way, not merely for the money gained. The feeling must be that he or she has to make the sale; the customer is there to help fulfill his or her personal need.
What sometimes gets overlooked in selling is the salesperson’s ability to feel. Empathy is the important central ability to feel as the other person does in order to sell them a product or service. One cannot sell well without the invaluable and irreplaceable ability to get powerful feedback from the client through empathy.
You’ll have much more Social Selling success if you can imagine what it’s like from your customer’s standpoint.
The purchase of your product is a milestone for your customer. Maintaining a customer-centric mindset through empathy keeps you focused on “what’s in it for them” (instead of what’s in it for you).
10 Social Selling Actions to Get Traction
Possessing a nice balance between ego-drive and empathy throughout the entire sales process helps serve your customers better. Your next steps are crucial.
1. Build a Recognizable Personal (Professional) Brand
There are three things that differentiate you from any other person: Your face, your expertise and your “Why”. It’s important to be yourself.
Building a recognizable professional brand opens up professional opportunities.
Every time you’re online, in a meeting, at a conference, networking reception or even a backyard BBQ, be mindful of:
- What others are experiencing about you.
- What you want others to experience about you.
In each of your engagements you are being evaluated by your customers, peers and even friends and family. When you’re solid in your professional brand, there is no difference between #1 and #2.
Being new to this idea of a professional brand can be challenging. However, when you begin to see yourself living through the “lens of a brand,” your perspective will change and you’ll become more mindful about how you approach the professional brand you are trying to define and aiming to live.
A professional brand is about making a full-time commitment to the journey of defining yourself as a leader and how this will shape the manner in which you will serve others.
Your professional brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving.
2. Research Where Your Customers and Referral Partners Spend Time
Pinpoint the channel your ideal prospects occupy the most. LinkedIn is a good first choice, especially for beginners. Whether you’re selling to consumers or businesses, LinkedIn provides a wealth of information with their advanced search options.
Please consider the paid option for LinkedIn. It delivers much better search results and pays for itself when you close one deal.
Other channels can be valuable too. If you’re comfortable with Facebook or Instagram, use your personal account to start (instead of a business page). Your friends and family know you and it’s important that they remember you when their connections need what you’re selling.
A word about social media and customer service: Social media is one of the first channels consumers head to when they have a question or an issue. Always be exploring and be responsive.
3. Launch on the Social Channel that Scares You the Least
Go easy on yourself. Pick the platform you feel the most comfortable with. If you don’t have one, dive in and make a choice. Set your privacy settings high to give your “lizard brain” a sense of control. Thoughtfully consider each time you post and mark specific customer-centric posts ‘Public’.
Spend at least 30 minutes a day on this first platform. Look around, see who you know and participate a little. You’ll get more and more comfortable every session.
A good plan that’s well executed will always overcome fear. Research who you know and who you want to know. Does your company have a special product, service or pricing that’s ideal for a particular customer or group of customers? Make a plan to connect with that individual or group and begin to provide your value.
4. Build Your Social Profiles
Success in Social Selling starts with professional and well-optimized profiles.
Your image is just as important in the digital world as it is in the real world. Online, your profile image is the first thing prospective clients will see. Make a good impression with a professional image that isn’t too stuffy, but still makes you look trustworthy and friendly.
The copy in your bio on any social network has to accomplish everything a greeting, handshake and an elevator pitch would do in person. Write every word with your prospect in mind and write in the first person, not the third. And be sure to be very clear about sharing your contact info. Share multiple avenues if there is room.
Take advantage of the “free real estate” that social media gives you. Be consistent with your image and bio on each platform so people will recognize your brand wherever they go.
Although you’re not going to leverage every channel right now, it’s best to create placeholders so that competitors don’t beat you to it.
5. Commit to Publishing Relevant, Helpful Content on a Regular Basis
The quality of the information you publish on social media drives your results. What you post will determine how people perceive you and the level of help you can provide.
As a Social Selling beginner with a customer-centric mindset, follow this framework:
- Always represent your professional brand
- Know your customers inside and out
- Answer your customers’ most frequently questions
- Show what it’s like to do business with you by sharing customer success stories.
Ask yourself: “What type of content is valuable to my network?”
- Helpful, educational
- Funny, uplifting
- Causes I support
- Outside-of-work interests
- Goal: Become the ‘likable expert’
Pro Tip: Video is one of the best ways to convey your helpfulness and expertise. Many beginners are apprehensive about being in front of a camera. As an introvert, I can relate. However, it gets easier every time you do it. If you feel comfortable using video, go for it. If not, still go for it. Eventually, you’ll find a comfortable space that works.
6. Leverage the Power of a Social CRM
As you progress, you’ll need to keep track of the people you meet online. You can do that manually (ugh) or use a Social CRM. Nimble is something I use – it’s an amazing tool that does a lot – and it’s at a reasonable price ($9 – $25/month).
- Integrates social media data directly into a CRM and your email.
- Manages relationships without data entry. Nimble automatically updates itself with relevant prospect and customer information from dozens of data sources.
- Nimble Mobile surfaces the history of conversations, provides social context, and enables enables Office 365 and G Suite users to quickly and effectively follow up and follow through on opportunities using Nimble’s templated emails, email tracking and visual pipeline manager.
- Whether you’re in your inbox, on a Facebook page, or just browsing a set of Google Search results, you can just hover over a contact or company name and the Smart Contacts App will automatically provide as much social information as it can find about them. The app also gives you the option to add that person or company to Nimble there and then (i.e., without having to go into the application) and update key information about them (lead source, status etc.).
7. Create Your Social Selling Process
If you’ve been in sales for any length of time, you know that having a process always helps you sell more. The same is true for Social Selling.
- Connect with current customers when appropriate
- Be the first to provide value in the relationships
- Listen for engagement opportunities
- Participate in conversations
- Create your own content
- Schedule Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn updates in advance with a tool like Buffer App.
- Like, comment on or share other people’s content
- Actively seek out who you’d like to know and identify who can refer you
- Recognize leads as the happen and offer to take your conversation offline
- Don’t forget to ask for the sale when appropriate
- Always ask for an online review or testimonial
8. Create an Authority Hub
A personal website is a great way to promote your personal brand and expertise. It’s also the perfect way to provide content on the web for search engines to index, which will build your credibility and authority.
Customers are Googling salespeople. What will they find when they Google you?
If you haven’t already, go grab the domain of your name. (example: kathikruse.com). You can install a free WordPress site in minutes and be sharing content the next day. You’ll quickly gain inspiration for topics from your customers.
Writing may be a deterrent for you but consider this: You’re already answering your customers’ questions in real life. Those interactions need only be written down and edited. 300-500 words is all you need for a website page or blog post.
If video feels more comfortable, fill your site with helpful tips through video.
9. Master the Art of Networking
Building a referral network is no easy task. It takes time and diligence but it pays off tremendously, especially when you find yourself in dire situations like losing a client…or losing your job.
- Always have a goal. Know what you want before you begin.
- Do your homework. Brief yourself about the person you’re connecting with.
- Stay authentic. Be yourself, be friendly, be interesting.
- Quality over Quantity. Don’t try to be all things to all people.
- Figure out how to help people.
- Ask for referrals.
When you’re a beginner at networking, your first notion is to connect with as many people as possible. However, the exact opposite action is much more effective. Identify who you want to know. Leverage your current network to build more circles of influence. The more selective you are, the more valuable your network is.
10. Show Up to Give.
“Show up to give, not to get. Share your ideas to help others and others will share your ideas.” ~Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek is naturally shy and doesn’t like speaking to crowds. However, his TED Talk is the 3rd most-watched talk (43 million views+ and counting!).
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
When you’re able to convey why you do what you’re doing, you connect much deeper than just the “transactional” level. Show up to give, look for opportunities to help solve your customer’s problems, and watch your network grow – online or offline!
If you’re new to Social Selling, these tips will give you a head start. You’ll need advice along the way.
If you’re a sales manager or business owner, the only true way to leverage Social Selling with your sales team is to train them to leverage social networking effectively. I’m happy to talk with you about your business goals and help you build a team of Social Selling Ninjas! Just send me a quick message here.
If you’re a salesperson, I’d love to hear about your Social Selling challenges. Please get in touch with me here. I get advice requests regularly and because of that, I’m working on an affordable, exclusive Social Selling membership for salespeople. You’ll be on the list as the ‘first to know’ when it’s launched.