The Importance of Social Selling and 6 Steps to Get Started

By Rebecca Gecan, - November 13, 2017

Just like emails, phone calls, face-to-face meetings and more recently text messaging, social media helps you stay in front of and provide value to your customers, prospects and target accounts. Most of you reading this are using social media personally. In fact, as of this year, over 81% of the U.S. population has a social media profile, compare that to 2008 when only 24% had profiles. To use it professionally will only take you about 10-20 minutes a week to start.

Social Media Marketing versus Social Selling

Many reps have said to me, "my marketing team manages our social media". Yes, but no. That is actually incorrect. Your marketing team manages your social media marketing, not social selling. Social media marketing is the interaction between your brand and the customer online. Social selling is the interaction between an individual within the company (most likely a sales rep) and the individual on social. Your job in sales is to acquire, nurture and foster relationships that will help your business grow. People buy from people.

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Why social selling is important

You need to be connecting with people before you are needed so that they become familiar with you and your brand. Why? Well, it’s psychology. The Mere Exposure Principle is a well known psychological phenomenon that dates back to 1965 ( and even earlier). The study shows that people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they have been exposed to and are familiar with them. Use social media to stay in front of your prospect building recognition and to establish trust. Keep in mind, if you don’t have a presence on social media, your competitor will.

 


6 Easy Steps to Start Social Selling

  1. Profile - People do judge a book by its cover when it comes to social media. Make sure your profile is professional and positions you as a go-to resource.
  2. Sharing - Having a strong presence on social media aids in your recognition and positioning as a viable solution and resource for your network. Use Google Alerts, blogs, newsletters and other vehicles to find helpful content to share with your network. Staying in front of your network through sharing content not only helps you provide value but also attracts new prospects to you.
  3. Identify Quality Prospects - Be more focused on QUALITY versus quantity when it comes to building your network online. Use social media to research new prospects, target accounts, and key contacts. Look at what they share, what they engage with, who they are connected to and use that information to nurture the relationship.
  4. Connect - Social media is another touchpoint. Use it to connect with leads after a trade show, as a follow up to a cold/warm call or to send an interesting article to your customer. As you research and qualify your prospect, use what you learn from social media to connect and relate to them. After all, there really is no such thing as cold calling anymore.
  5. Engage - Engage with quality prospects that will have a positive impact on your book of business. You’re not networking on social media instead you are engaging with your established network. When you Comment, Like and Share their posts, it tags them in content that you put out.
  6. Nurture Leads to Close - Continue using the above 5 tactics to nurture your prospects, close new business and provide value to existing customers.

The use of social selling will not take away from your normal selling process, it will just enhance it. As people adopt new tools to communicate and stay connected, we salespeople must evolve our process to meet our customers where they are.

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