Social selling expands on the age-old basics of getting to know what prospects want, meeting their needs and moving them through the decision making process to close. In the old days, we got a glimpse into what was important to prospects and customers by meeting them at their office and looking at what was on their walls. Back then, these things were our conversation starters.
Today, sellers have unprecedented access to a myriad of social media tools that can be incorporated into their traditional sales activities. Prior to walking into that next sales meeting, you can be armed with the information you need to start more interesting and relevant meeting conversations.
Focus on the Customer
Customers today want to connect and converse in their preferred communication channels. The blunt, un-nuanced “Mad Men” style of selling is no longer effective. Social selling techniques allow today’s business professional to engage with customers and prospects with relevance and purpose. It’s not WHAT you sell that matters, it is HOW you go about it.
Buyers no longer want information pushed at them. But when you share educational and informative content that provides a benefit to them in some way, they will pay attention. Be a Go-Giver. Find out what they care about, what challenges they face, get to know them and focus your energies on helping rather than overtly selling. All this will lead naturally into a discussion of how you can solve a problem or improve their business, and why you and your company is the right choice to help them.
5 Steps to Building Influence
Social selling is a two-way street, a relationship, a conversation. Jon – Nimble’s CEO – describes the basic tenets of this process by using what he calls, the five “E’s”:
Here’s where the “why” comes in. What exactly do you have that they need? Why should they buy something from you? Don’t tell and sell; educate. Let them see value, benefits and results. You feature product pitches simply bore them. (There’s a place for product information on your site, however, as a valuable self-serve option for visitors!)
Perhaps more important than educating your prospects and customers on the value and benefits of what you sell is educating them in the broader sense—to help them succeed. Be generous with information that informs and educates…industry trends, news about their competitors or economic factors that might impact them. Keep your focus on sharing content that fits what your prospects, customers and partners care about – not what you are trying to sell!
The information that you share should be information that can be acted upon; information that improves their business in some way. Mix up the content: ebooks, tip sheets, articles, and commentary. There are no short-cuts in relationship building, and while education is a longer-term investment, in social selling it is an extremely important one. When buyers are ready to make a purchasing decision, they will remember your generosity and openness.
Enchantment is the human voice that enlivens a systematic process. People buy from people that they know like and trust. Be open, authentic, relevant, and transparent all with the goal of developing trust, because without trust, you have nothing. Enchant them throughout each step of the sales process and give more than they ever expected.
In today’s social selling world, creating an online presence that positions you as an influencer in your field must be a big part of your sales brand identity. Create social profiles that speak to what buyers care about – results. Determine what you want to be known for and share content that consistently supports that brand image.
Like. Chat. Get involved. Connect people to others. Share their content. Comment on their status updates and posts. Even if they’re not potential customers, they have colleagues that are.
Develop the daily habit of viewing what’s happening in your social networks. Reach out, keep relationships active. Buyers are busy and they have sellers hounding them at every turn. Remaining consistent visible means having a system that keeps you from losing track of people, and tools like Nimble.com make it hard to let important sales activities slip through the cracks.
The key to social selling success is spending time where your prospects and customers are likely to hang out. Rather than jumping around from one social site to another, you can see and interact with all your contacts in one place. Using the Signals tab, you can easily monitor conversations across multiple networks. Consistent, daily interaction is what leads to sales opportunities down the road.
How we sell today has changed, and it is important to modern day sellers embrace the art of social selling in a big way. Use social channels to identify people you can help and who can also help you. Forge connections with the people – prospects, customers, partners and other influencers that matter most to you. Engage in their conversations by chiming in with your thoughts, listen to what others are saying and who they connect to.
LinkedIn groups are one great way to share experiences, ask questions, get to know people, and develop ideas. There are thousands of groups, something for every interest. With group discussions, you can contribute your insight and expertise in ways that are of benefit to the entire group. Doing so sets you apart from the less enlightened sellers who try to use groups to simply pitch their wares. My contributing your point of view in ways that enrich the conversations will attract the buyers you’d like to meet.
Empowerment means giving people the tools they need to be successful. When sellers have access to the best ways to engage and educate their prospects, clients and partners, they become viewed as trusted advisors in the minds of their prospects and customers. As a result, selling opportunities increase.
At Nimble, we believe that when salespeople can see each person in their contact list in a multi-faceted way, not just as a flat business card record, they have a much richer view of what’s important. At the end of the day, it is not about contacts it is the personal connections and relationship intelligence that matters!
The Social Selling Advantage
By factoring these “Five E’s” into your daily sales activities, over time you can capitalize on sales opportunities more quickly.
What’s Stopping You?
Why not take our FREE 14-day Nimble Test Drive? There is no credit card required, and you’ll be up and running in minutes. Use Nimble to put the Five E’s of Social Selling to work for you! After you get started, come back and tell me how you are doing. I’d love to hear your success stories!