- Be a good online listener. Pay attention to what’s being said, complained about, praised or happening in industry circles. Instead of being a “know it all,” let this information be the springboard for open, probing and confirming questions.
- Respond in a professional and supportive way to a blog written by an executive in a prospective or client organization.“Your post highlighting 5 Ways to Increase Sales through Technology and Innovation was both thought provoking and well supported. Recently, we had an opportunity to partner with a company in a similar situation, and we also found that…”
- Provide and ask colleagues for online introductions when appropriate.“Hi Susan, I performed an advance search, on LinkedIn, and noticed Mark Napolitano is in your circle. After the success we had partnering on your last software updates, I was wondering if you are comfortable putting the two of us in touch?”
- Promote newsworthy posts. Gain followers and follow other thought leaders. Tweet and retweet articles, infographics and short video clips that are relevant to your network of contacts. People with power turn to credible resources for industry information. Become a trusted business advisor.“Check out these 5 valuable insights into inside sales channels. #insidesales. Enjoy!”
The bottom line is that sales, regardless of the platform, is about building sustainable relationships and maximizing your selling capacity. This hasn’t changed. The process, however, has changed. Think of social selling as the ultimate tool for locating and using power to your advantage. But keep in mind: information is a two-way street.
For the sales professional it’s about finding power. The worst case scenario is when you invest time and effort into a person who has no authority to execute a purchase. Almost as bad is actually gaining access, and being unprepared for the business conversation – that’s another ValueSelling newsletter topic on its own! But getting back to finding power, it is important to understand that seldom will a single prospect show up with the money to buy your product. Instead, it’s about finding multiple points of power, getting their attention, and positioning yourself as the preferred partner. Perform your research thoroughly and identify the right power the first time.
For the buyer, it’s about finding value. A person with power doesn’t want to be sold. They are looking for the highest and best solution that addresses their business issues and solves their business problems. According to SiriusDecisions, 79% of B2B buyers start the education process with a search. And 53% refer to vendor social content when narrowing down their choices in the vendor selection phase.
Are you making it easy for your prospects to find you via social media? Are you going where they go, participating in online forums and conversations? Are you contributing valuable information in places buyers might notice you? Have you built apersonal online brand? Have you established yourself as a credible resource? Is your contact information easy to locate? Use these guidelines when crafting your presentation on online platforms so that the answer to each question is yes.
Be aware of the Social Selling Mirror. If potential buyers are investigating us, even before they consider us, and we are investigating them, even before we contact them, we need to recognize the idea of the social selling mirror. It’s two-way. We’re each looking for each other…probably in the same places. This is a good thing as long as you have prepared wisely for this virtual, first impression.
With social selling you have many ways to find decision-makers, influencers and the people with power. Even better…they’re already looking for you. Get in the driver’s seat, take charge and turn on the social media key to drive your sales productivity.