Social Selling has become a bit of a buzzword in the last few years. However, it’s not just a passing fad and is one that we should learn about, understand and put into practice.
Social selling is about developing relationships as part of the sales process, “social selling is simply the process of helping social buyers become customers.” It’s all about making new connections and sharing valuable content with potential buyers in your industry." Forbes
We now communicate more often than not, online. It’s a place that provides us with opportunities; therefore online social tools like LinkedIn can help start the process of social selling. It’s a one-stop shop for researching and identifying potential clients, raising awareness of your business and building your brand.
Furthermore, "LinkedIn data shows: sales professionals who use LinkedIn for social selling are 51% more likely to exceed their sales quota than sales professionals who don’t use LinkedIn for social selling” Melanie Dorado. If you don’t adopt social selling, you’re going to be left behind.
LinkedIn is a way to seek out potential customers and by getting involved in social selling you can reach them sooner rather than later. Jill Konrath, a sales keynote speaker and author said: “First off, if you get in early you can share ideas, insights and information that would help them achieve their objectives. This then positions you as a valuable resource – someone who is truly focused on their success. You’ll never be seen as just another self-serving salesperson.” It’s all about building relationships that promote trust first and foremost.
It’s not all about numbers and you need to find the right target audience, think about it as quality over quantity. Use tools like, advanced search, saved searches and ‘whose viewed my profile’ to find the right people.
Building relationships with your audience on LinkedIn is important because:
Once you’ve found the right people then do your research and find out what they need and appreciate. Visit their profile and find out more about them. You can then use LinkedIn to open other communication channels, such as a phone call or a meeting, and use it to move on to the next step.
Much of social selling is about building your personal brand. You want potential customers to like and trust you, they should know who you are and social networks are a way to extend this reach, whilst building your reputation.
Your LinkedIn profile is a continuous introduction to prospects; they can always visit your page and find out a bit more about you, so you want to make sure that it creates the right impression. Never leave your profile incomplete and things like your headline can make a real difference.
It is your personal brand that differentiates you from your competition. People can get to know you, to like you and this personal connection is now what’s looked for when it comes to sales.
LinkedIn is a social community and is made for professionals to connect – so use it for this! Use it as a social tool to nurture and reach new customers, whilst growing your business.
You should aim to build relationships with key decision-makers and influencers. Influencers are the people that can really affect buying decisions. They are the ones that can “help you navigate the organization, champion your product and facilitate introductions to important contacts”.
It’s all about having the right people in your network, building the right relationships, gaining valuable insights and reaching out at the right time. Cold-calling is finished and with a large network you have a ‘warm-lead’, leaving you more open to prospect sales.
Using content in the right way can help you to grow your connections and build your reputation as a credible business person.
LinkedIn is a place where prospective clients talk about their needs and the challenges they face. So use this as a social channel to listen, respond and introduce yourself.
Buyers will look for what is known as ‘social-proof’ before they purchase. They want help and support to validate their decisions, so they’ll speak to others and do their own research online. This is where you want to present yourself as a Thought Leader and an expert.
You need to offer your network valuable advice and information. But, you can’t become a Thought Leader over night and this is something that you continuously need to work on. It’s important to build relationships based on expertise and what value you offer, then people will come to you as a Thought Leader.
Social Selling shouldn’t be ignored and should now be taken seriously as part of any sales strategy, so start building that network and make personal connections that matter.