What Is Social Selling and How Does It Increase Sales?
Social selling is a new way to approach a sales process that allows you to stay relevant with your prospect when you would normally go dark during off periods of non-communication. Social selling allows you to stay connected with your prospects and build a relationship with them that goes beyond a vendor toward a trusted advisor. Here are the 4 main activities that make up social selling:
Building Your Personal Brand
With tens or hundreds of other salespeople vying for your prospect’s business and respect, what makes you or me unique enough for prospects to want to talk to us and ultimately buy from us? In order to set yourself apart, certain actions need to make up the foundation of your social presence. This includes having the appropriate social networks set up such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, and many more. You must also belong to relevant social groups and communities, as well as, sharing content that is applicable and relevant to your prospects and audience. Using social gives you the opportunity to build an authentic and trustable online persona who is recognized as a thought leader in the space.
Gathering Sales Intelligence
Sales people who optimize their processes and day-to-day activities seem to always boil to the top. Using social selling and social networks should receive the exact same treatment. Networks like LinkedIn allow oyu to identify decision makers, influencers, and tell you what their thinking and doing. CSO Insights found that “Effective use of sales intelligence increases revenue productivity per sales rep by 17%.” By following your prospects and decision makers you can look for buying triggers that let you know it’s a good time to reach out to talk about your solution.
Creating a Deep Network of Contacts and Advocates
Building networks is nothing new for salespeople. Traditional ways would be to attend events and collect business cards. Others tried the spray and pray style by reaching for the phone and trying and cold call their way in to a position to build a relationship, or sent email templates to hundreds of people hoping for a response. Social selling techniques now give you a way to grow your networks continuously, engage with potential buyers everyday, and gain referral from customers, friends and your own colleagues or employees. When you create a deep network of advovates and referrers, they will fill up your pipeline for you.
By using monitoring tools that help you keep tabs on multiple social networks, you can optimize your activities and listen toyour entire market real-time. Solutions like HootSuite can help you listen and understand your prospective buyer’s company and decision makers needs. Imagine a local pizza shop was able to listen to a 5 mile radius for anyone who was hungry or asking for opinions on pizza shops. The opportunity is there to send over your information or discount coupon. This applies equally to large inside sales teams who need to identify buying triggers and maximize every conversation with the prospect.
Recently named by InsideView and Social Selling University as 1 of the top 15 professionals using social selling in 2012 and was featured in Eloqua's Grande Guide to Social Selling. Surfing, skydiving, traveling and eating the hottest peppers from around the world make up Julio's downtime.