Every senior sales professional knows that social media provides a unique opportunity to connect with prospects and customers. Never before has the distance between seller and buyer been so short, allowing you to merge the worlds.
Social media and social selling have become integral parts of every reputable organization's blueprint for sales success, but it doesn't merely begin and end with creating a profile and uploading some posts.
Expert social selling is part science and part art form and when done correctly will help you shorten the sales cycle, nurturing your leads and boosting close rates compared to other tactics. That is because with social selling you can get right to the heart of why people buy and then meet them when they are at their most receptive.
In this article, we explore 13 of the best social selling techniques that will help take your sales efforts to the next level to achieve true master status.
1. Create Relationships Not Sales
Nobody likes the idea of being 'sold' something. It makes customers feel like they have have been taken advantage of or fallen prey to a salesperson's skills and manipulation. Even if you have the best product or service in the world, a seller needs to create a relationship with prospects before making a sale.
This concept is especially true with social selling because people are inundated with offers on a regular basis. Be genuine, be a real person, and take the time to form relationships before trying to make a sale.
2. Serve Before Selling
Showing you are human and forming a relationship are great social selling tips, but expert sales pros need to provide value before someone is really going to trust what's being said. Just because they may have opted in or shown some interest doesn't mean they are saying "please sell me something."
Serving before selling means giving away valuable information for free. It means solving problems and offering solutions without a dollar value attached. By thinking, “how can I help you?” instead of “what can I sell you?” will mean you are on the right track.
3. Give More than You Receive
If there seems to be a pattern among these social selling techniques, it’s because this way of thinking is the only real way to find success with social platforms. Sharing content and ideas is what social media is all about, and you need to give far more than you receive to be successful.
Make the majority of posts value-driven, with useful information that's designed to help your audience. Also, spend a good proportion of time sharing other people’s content and leaving helpful comments.
4. Take Time to Build the Foundation
You can't be an expert unless you build a strong foundation for social media platforms. So many sellers seem to just create their LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts haphazardly and end up not getting the most out of them.
Think of each one as a mini website of its own and place relevant information in bios, profiles, and pinned posts so that potential customers will find it professional and will want to do business with your company right from the start.
5. Create a Content Schedule
Every social selling expert will have a content schedule that they follow to ensure the right information is being posted on a consistent basis.
Certain days can be dedicated to particular topics or mix things up throughout the week, just be sure to execute and be consistent with timing and branding, so prospects get to know you and feel comfortable with what is being promoted or sold.
6. Do Your Research
When you decide to reach out to another business via social media, take time to do some research beforehand. You don't want to throw out some blanket pitch for each and every account contacted.
Even if you take five or ten minutes to research the company and its needs, you'll be ahead of the game and will be able to communicate in a way that’s unique to that organization.
7. Interact Regularly
For social selling to be effective, you must interact with followers and connections regularly. Also, those interactions must be genuine and not seem forced or like you are pushing for the sale. Start conversations with your network and keep them going until they reach a natural conclusion.
It's also essential to add value on a consistent basis and become a trusted resource in your industry. Offer solutions, provide relevant information, share success stories, give useful advice or have conversations about topics you have in common.
8. Continue the Conversation on Other Channels
Social selling experts don’t just limit their communication with a particular prospect to one channel. If you are connected on Facebook and interact there regularly, don't think you can't also be connected on LinkedIn or Twitter. Different platforms seem to have different feels or nuances, so go with the flow and connect on as many as possible.
You may find that a company appears more business-like on LinkedIn and more playful on Instagram. Take that opportunity to form a bond that encompasses a range of different thoughts and emotions and you'll likely have greater success in meeting your objectives.
9. Don’t Neglect Existing Customers
In the quest for new sales and new revenue, it can be easy to neglect existing customers on social media, but that would be a mistake. Remember that it's six times more expensive to win a new customer than to retain an existing one. If they have bought from your company once, they will likely buy again, but it can't just be assumed they will.
For existing customers, ask more profound questions and take the time to nurture relationships to keep them feeling special. Look into their social media profiles and bios to get as much information about them as possible and keep them engaged.
10. Keep Profiles Up to Date
One of the social selling techniques that even experts tend to miss is keeping profiles relevant and up to date. You want your profile to be a place where any company or potential customer can visit and find out all of the relevant information they'd want to create or continue a relationship with you.
It must look clean and crisp, have updated media to reflect current offers, and provide value. Also, it mustn't be complicated or challenging to get in touch if someone wants to reach out.
It's also essential to ensure your image looks professional and makes a good impression. Company accounts may have the logo as the profile picture, but if you use an image of yourself, make sure it is in line with company values and looks like someone you'd want to do business with.
11. Stay in Tune with What Works
The sphere of social media is always changing and evolving, so to be an expert social seller you need to change and evolve right along with it. That includes giving consideration to the fact that the majority of people search and interact via a mobile device and the emergence of video as a way to communicate and share information.
There is no room to rest on your laurels, to become complacent, or to get stubborn about what you like to do when it comes to social selling. Real experts use what works and think about results, so make sure you keep up with what is working to get the results you want.
12. Track Results and Make Adjustments
Learning from what you've already tried is a great way to save time and maximize ROI with social selling. By collecting insights and data from current and past efforts, it will become obvious what works and doesn't work and be able to adjust messaging and platforms accordingly.
Every expert marketer tests, tracks, and measures, so if you want to be among the elite, it should also be part of your social selling strategy.
13. Be Patient
Above all else, you need to exercise patience when it comes to expert social selling. Even with advanced metrics and analytics, building and maintaining valuable relationships takes time, and there is no 'quick fix' that will enable shortcuts.
You can use those tools to let you know what is working and what isn’t, but patience with the process is key.
These tips and techniques should help sellers across industries to harness the influence and power of social selling. The key is personalization, persistence, patience and a positive attitude that looks to provide customers with solutions.