Everyone would like to sell more, but not everybody knows precisely how. The answer may be right at your fingertips. 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.
Before social media, people bought from people in social ways. Today, we have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and more to connect with prospects and customers no matter what stage they are in the shopping/buying process.
What is Social Selling?
Social selling is a sales technique that allows salespeople to laser-target their prospecting and establish rapport through existing connections.
Automotive digital retailing is a process that has transformed how car dealers sell vehicles. It’s the merging of online tools with traditional in-person customer service to better serve today’s consumer.
Communicating with customers and conducting business online is here to stay, 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.
Many organizations and their salespeople don’t feel ready. To help you get ready and take action, I’ve compiled a list of helpful tactics and tips.
20 Social Selling techniques for more leads and referrals.
1. Always start with a plan.
A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Set clear goals. Here are some examples:
- Grow my network by 25 connections this month
- Engage 20% of my network each month using highly relevant content
- Convert 10 conversations into leads this month
- Track leads (and their outcomes) each week
- Earn 2-5 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 professional brand.
If you’re not great at writing your own bio (most of us aren’t), hire someone to do it. (Hint: we’ll do it for you at a reasonable price! Contact me here). 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. You may already have groups that you’re part of and you participate in discussions.
Social Selling includes engaging people in meaningful conversations. They’ll remember that you were thoughtful and will be more likely to engage again. 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.
The same goes for digital conversations.
When you’re conversational on social media, over time, your network develops a perception of you. Make sure what you say enhances how you want people to think of you. Things are pretty divided culturally right now and it’s easy to fall into the trap of chiming in on threads that spark responses. But ask yourself, “Is this worthy of my response? If I respond, am I adding value to the conversation?”
PS: Introverts can master the art of conversation too. How do I know? Because I’m an introvert and I know you can do it too!
5. Consume content from people and organizations that inspire you.
Make the best of your downtime and spend 20 minutes a day reading content from media and writers that inspire you. Engage authors by asking them questions. Share their posts to your network. To master Social Selling, it’s crucial to 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 content come alive. You can be like everyone else….or you can figure out what you do better than anyone else and tell your story.
Tell stories with images and video about how you deliver a great customer experience. Everyone likes to see and hear about happy customers because, even though they might not be in the market, they witness what it would be like to work with you. Knowing that you win customers over adds incredible value to your professional brand.
8. Capture the attention of people on Facebook.
Chances are you’ve already got an existing network on Facebook. Share at least two “work related” posts per week on Facebook. These posts should be customer-focused (as mentioned in #7 above).
You’ll also want to engage daily with your Facebook network. I’ve had many salespeople and managers say they sold a car (or two, or ten) to someone they know on Facebook. That is the very essence of Social Selling.
9. Show another side of your personality on Instagram.
Here’s your chance to tell a visual story. Your storytelling images and video are perfect for Instagram.
73% of buyers point to customer experience as an important factor in purchasing decisions. Millennials prefer experience over product.
Products have become a commodity so what differentiates you is your service. Post at least twice a week and show other ways that you’re delivering a great customer experience.
10. Post content on LinkedIn at three times per week.
Like all social networks, when you share great content and engage, you move up in search results. The good news is that, if you followed my earlier tips about storytelling, that content works great on LinkedIn too!
Also share blog posts, media articles, stories from industry journals that are current and relevant to either you, your industry, or your network.
11. 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.
12. Use a daily checklist.
Here’s an example Social Selling checklist from one of my books:
13. 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 will introduce you, sing your praises and add huge value to your professional brand.
Asking for sale is tricky when communicating with customers online. Things can get muddled and you can lose the sale too easily. Remember, you are selling a car to someone and that’s a milestone in their life. Don’t go for the sale, go for the appointment.
14. Google yourself.
It’s a fact: customers will Google you. Have you Googled yourself lately? What do you see?
Your LinkedIn profile, Yelp and Google reviews (if you have them) will show up first in search results. If you don’t like what you see, or don’t see anything, it’s time to fix that.
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile is 100% complete.
- Reviews that mention you are super valuable so make it a priority to ask for online reviews.
15. Never underestimate the power of repeat customers as advocates.
Social Selling is not about you saying how great you are – the power lies in when others say it.
Asking for testimonials should be in your plan. Connecting with your repeat customers via social media is a great way to stay in touch.
16. 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 your product, service, and industry.
Pro tip: Write down the ten most frequently asked questions you get from prospects and buyers. It could be about common options on the vehicle, best time to buy a car, or how to get the most money for your trade-in. Answer those questions in a Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram post.
17. Listen with purpose.
People will say what they want, need or desire. It’s up to you to listen and act.
18. Build loyalty.
When you’re responsive, open, willing to listen and take action to rectify a customer’s issue, your network (and theirs) will witness it. Respond quickly if a customer has a complaint. You’ll solidify your standing as a trustworthy person who cares about your customers.
19. Connect using humor.
The shortest distance between two people is a laugh.
However, I need to point out that humor can be tricky. I like to say, “Humor is not for amateurs.” So be extra discriminating about the type of humor you use.
20. Be helpful.
This one sounds really simplistic but I want you to think about being helpful in every sales situation you come into. Solve problems and share 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?
The pandemic has accelerated the need for salespeople to become digitally fluent and communicate well online. If you’d like to know more or get in-depth guidance for your sales team, get in touch with me here.