I recently had a really awesome conversation/thread with some sales people on the concept of social selling which prompted me to create an article around what I’ve researched, been on the receiving end of, and success stories from reps in my company.
So what is “Social Selling”?
According to Hootsuite: “Social selling is the art of using social networks to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects. It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers that keep you—and your brand—front of mind, so you’re the natural first point of contact when a prospect is ready to buy.”
But what exactly does that entail?
1. Stop: Update your profile first!
I explain this to the reps I work with like this: imagine you’re going out on a sales call and you’re dressed in pajamas, have no notes or anything to prepare, and no knowledge of the company you’re about to sell to. Could you still make that sale? Probably not. You’ll look unprofessional and like you don’t actually care about the company or your own solutions that you’re trying to sell.
The same goes for social selling. LinkedIn has evolved past being just a virtual resumé and Twitter is where most people actually get their news. Your clients and prospects will expect you to have a current (and clear) profile photo, cover photo, in-depth summary (or bio), and see that you’re actively posting on the network. Otherwise, it looks like a disheveled person trying to peddle you products instead of a sales rep who not only knows why your company specifically needs their services, but understands the marketplace and ecosystem of your company.
2. [Social] Listen & Collaborate!
You NEVER go right into the cold sell after connecting with a client or prospect on social. Wade in the water. You can be strategic about the way you “stalk” prospects and clients to make the most of your time and efforts (especially with sales navigator if you have access to that).
Social Listening allows you to extract key insights from social conversations that you can apply to your overall strategy when prospecting:
- What is the CMO talking about on their personal Twitter account?
- Is there an event, product, pain point being mentioned?
- What can you extract from their feed and conversations to help you get a better overall view of this person?
- What is the culture of the org (can you see any job openings or company restructuring that leads you to believe they need help with growth, realignment, learning services)?
On Twitter, Tweetdeck has been integral for our reps to be able to watch their lists, follow keywords, events, and prospect accounts.
Once you’ve effectively “listened”, you can start to interact with your prospect. This still doesn’t mean selling, it means creating relationships.
Comment on threads they started or contributed to, join similar groups, be an integral part of their newsfeed! Share case studies, relevant blogs, articles you’ve read, and personal anecdotes in their field. Connect with them on a human level. People buy from people.
3. Now you’re ready to sell!
This doesn’t mean it’s time to copy & paste! Anyone can easily spot a template. Use the notes you took from your social listening and craft a message that speaks to the human being, not just what you think a CXO wants to hear.
I’m not going to defeat the point of this article by providing examples of “what to say”, but feel free to reach out to me and we can brainstorm messaging together!
Important note: if you are unable to message a prospect on LinkedIn and Twitter, simply use the knowledge you acquired through social when calling and emailing. Even when I’m not a viable lead for someone, I genuinely appreciate the lengths reps go to to sell to me, and I often write back congratulating reps on their approach!