Whether you enjoy it or find it scary, social media has become an integral part of our lives—both personally and professionally. Think about it. When’s the last time you checked Facebook or LinkedIn? This morning? Now, when’s the last time you sent a postcard, or updated your scrapbook? Chances are it was a while ago (if at all).
Just as you and I have made the move onto the web, into Internet real estate, so have your potential buyers. This is why it’s becoming more important than ever to start adapting a Social Selling strategy.
According to a study by Salesforce, 79% of salespeople who use social media in their sales process outperform those who don’t. That should be reason enough.
Becoming a kick-ass Social Seller isn’t as hard as you might think. Below is a carefully selected list of just 8 steps for you to follow that will get you on your way to becoming the next great Social Seller.
Let’s dig in.
- Get on Social Media! This first step is logical, if not obvious. If you’re not already on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter), now’s the time get started. Set up a profile on each of these sites with a consistent name and profile picture, and with biographical information that not only represents you, but information that represents how you can help your prospects.
- Spend Time Everyday Viewing Content. By signing up for a content aggregator like Feedly, you can receive a daily dose of content specific to your industry. This will not only keep you up to date with recent trends, but will help position yourself as an expert in the eyes of your prospects if you share what you find regularly. It’s also smart to view the content created by competitors in your industry, as it allows you to stay up-to-date with what they’re doing differently than you, and how your company can adapt.
- Share Relevant and Valuable Information. This is the key to Social Selling. Whether it’s in the form of content created by your company’s Marketing team, or whether it’s an awesome piece of content you found on Feedly or on a competitor’s website, sharing this information is crucial. Be sure to share at the right times, when buyers tend to check social media: around 9:00am, 12:00pm, and 5:00pm. By regularly sharing information with your followers—many of whom will become your prospects, and hopefully your customers—you can build a favorable reputation as someone who is knowledgeable of their industry and more focused on providing valuable information to the right prospects than making a sale.
- Engage with Your Connections. Stay up to date. If you have a number of prospects already following you on Twitter or connected with you on LinkedIn, stay engaged. If they tweet a question you can answer, answer it. If they tweet something interesting or funny, favorite or retweet it. Additionally, keep an eye on who’s viewing your LinkedIn profile and on who’s updating their profile. Try to set a daily contact goal for yourself: Can you start a conversation with 4 connections a day? 5? 6? The more the merrier—but be sure that each conversation is genuine.
- DO NOT use Social Media for Cold Calls. Social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn are not just another place to use obsolete sales tactics. Don’t send unsolicited sales pitches—these will be ignored as quickly on social media as they are over the phone. Social Selling is not simply selling on social media; Social Selling is about building connections, relationships, and trust with your prospects, which, in the end, is more rewarding.
- Get Help When You Need It. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re not entirely comfortable with social media or Social Selling. Using a platform like Twitter or LinkedIn incorrectly can be more detrimental than not using it at all. Reach out to others in your Sales team, or even your friends over in Marketing—Marketers tend to be a great resource when it comes to leveraging social media. By having a working, hospitable relationship with your Marketing team, you can not only ask for help from them when you need it, but you can borrow some of the content they’ve created and shared to share with your own followers.
- Keep Managing Your Time like a True Salesperson. Yes, Social Selling is the latest trend in the industry. But no, this doesn’t mean you should abandon all of your old habits and live entirely on social media. By sticking to a routine, anywhere from just 20-30 minutes a day, you can be just as successful at Social Selling as someone who spends hours on social media—the trick, as mentioned above, is to engage at the right times throughout the day. Additionally, be sure to come to an agreement as a Sales team, and with your Marketing team, on what a qualified lead looks like so you can spend time reaching out and interacting with the right people.
- Listen and Learn. One of the most important benefits of being a Social Seller is that you have nearly unlimited access to the thoughts and concerns of your potential prospects. What are your connections saying? Asking? Complaining about? It’s important to share information with your connections, but it’s equally (if not more) important to listen to them—how else will you know what they need you to share? At its root, Social Selling isn’t too different from traditional selling: it’s based on listening to questions, answering questions, and building trust with your leads.
That wasn’t too bad, right? Social Selling isn’t something to fear—it’s something to embrace! Social media has changed our lives, and it’s changing our Sales practices as well. By adapting to this change, rather than running from it, and by following these 8 simple steps, there’s no way you can’t become a kick-ass Social Seller.