Social Selling is a sales technique that allows salespeople to laser-target their prospecting and establish rapport through existing connections. Fundamentally, it’s the process you use to help social shoppers become customers.
As consumers spend more time at home and online, using the right Social Selling strategies can help salespeople connect with a potential customer, and continue a relationship beyond the transaction.
There are many Social Selling strategies and tactics that lead up to the sale but ultimately it’s how you leverage your expertise and provide value that wins it.
I was at my local health foods store doing my weekly shopping. A vendor was camped out near the check out offering samples of an energy bar. He asked if I’d like a sample. I’ve tried that brand and I don’t like them so I politely said no. He asked again, “Are you sure? They’re great.” I said no again, with a smile. Then he said, “They’re better than what you have in your basket.” I turned around and asked, “Are you judging me? ’cause it sounded like you’re judging me.” To which he replied, “I was just trying to warn you.”
How would you feel coming away from that encounter? Would you be more inclined to buy his product or less?
Sales is an artful skill.
Having started my career in the car business in sales, I’ve always had compassion for those trying to make their way to success – and this situation was no different. However, the energy bar vendor didn’t take the time to find out that I had tried his brand and didn’t like it. He didn’t know that, with food allergies, I’ve done my homework on what I can put in my body and his brand wasn’t for me. It was all about him and his product instead of about me (potential buyer) and my preferences.
To win the sale takes listening and asking questions to help the prospect decide. Long before the sale, a good salesperson can practice Social Selling to help themselves fully understand the needs of the modern digital customer.
A successful salesperson focuses on the customer’s needs – this is true in online or offline interactions. He or she appreciates the role of content and how it’s used to assist the customer and to also tell a powerful story of why people buy from you.
The practice of Social Selling includes growing your social connections and getting your potential customers to know, like and trust you. The best way to grow your connections is through becoming the likable expert.
Everyone would like to sell more, but not everyone knows precisely how. The answer, believe it or not, may very well be right at your fingertips. Get your FREE Guide: 20 Social Selling Techniques for More Leads and Referrals
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Social Selling = Teaching + Listening + Asking
The following 3 success drivers will get your Social Selling machine firing on all cylinders!
Educating buyers is your key to engaging them. The modern digital buyer is looking for trustworthy information and why wouldn’t you want to be the one providing it?
Share relevant content on the social channels where your customers spend time and where you feel most comfortable or inspired. What is relevant content? There are two fountains from which to drink.
1. Your own content.
- Images and video of you delivering a great experience.
- Video customer testimonials.
- Answers to customer FAQs (post the question and then answer it but do it in a conversational way: “My latest customer asked me how to get the most for their trade-in. I thought you might like to know too so here’s how…”)
- Memes (images with text on them) that help convey your professional brand’s message. (example: meaningful quotes)
- Content illustrating the charities and events you’re part of or volunteer for.
2. Other people’s content.
- Important industry news.
- Limited-time specials (urgency and scarcity are key to getting people’s attention).
- Financing opportunities
In using other people’s content, you’re perceived as a “curator.” Someone who’s done all the work of finding the best information and reduces it down to bite size pieces for your customer.
Pro Tip: When using other people’s images or video, be sure to give attribution. This step communicates integrity and trust.
Pay attention to the subtleties in conversations. Find common ground and shared interests with potential buyers.
In paying a lot of attention to conversations, you can become adept at recognizing leads.
- Join Facebook Groups in your area, including “Buy, Sell, Trade” groups. There are lots of opportunities to post specials and include your cell number.
- Search specific #hashtags on Instagram.
- Sign up for LinkedIn Premium to take full advantage of their advanced search tools.
- Pay close attention to comment threads. What are people saying? What problems can you solve for them?
When you find these opportunities, come from a place of solving their problem. Have a little back and forth conversation before you jump into selling. Remember: don’t be like that energy bar vendor I mentioned above.
Asking questions to facilitate the buy is as important as asking for the sale. Develop rapport with people, whether they are your prospect or not. Over time, you’ll be considered a trusted resource and people will naturally think of you when they or someone they know is in the market to buy.
Asking for the sale is difficult for many salespeople, online or offline. They’re afraid of seeming pushy, greedy or unlikable. It’s never necessary to be pushy or aggressive in order to close someone.
In fact, if you’ve done a good job in Social Selling, the close will follow naturally and will seem like the next logical step.
And it’s not always a prospect you’re asking something of – you could be asking for a referral. Either way, when you’ve taken the steps to build your professional brand, asking becomes natural and easier.
Let’s review the key Social Selling steps
- Establish and grow your online presence through social media, including online review sites.
- Map out who you want to connect with and who in your network might be able to refer you.
- Teach: Publish useful content that leverages your expertise and signifies you as a trusted resource.
- Listen: Engage in conversations and develop leads by asking thoughtful questions.
- Ask: For the sale.
If you’d like more Social Selling tips, get my FREE Guide: 20 Social Selling Techniques for More Leads and Referrals HERE.