It’s not easy to connect with humans in a digital age, increased use of technology is impacting eye contact, body language, even how we choose to talk to people we really love… so it’s no surprise that how we build trust in brands we work with is changing too. It’s never been more important to use your online brand and social selling to attract, engage with, and win new prospects. But how can you leverage social selling?
Social selling works well to build trust and engagement in your target audience by talking to them in a language that resonates via social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. It’s the modern form of relationship building that helps you effortlessly and more precisely reach your target audience, and build a trusted personal brand at the same time.
Social selling tools are becoming more advanced too, the data and analytics available on the potential customers using any given social media platform are accurate and informative, based on consumer habits and the personal data the social network collects about each user, and if used correctly can help you identify sales opportunities.
One thing is for certain – social selling beats cold calling hands down!
How does social selling work?
So how does social selling actually work and why is it so much more effective than a cold sales pitch?
The answer lies in the sheer volume of personal data that every social media platform collects on each of us, along with the level on online trust that consumers now have.
For example we trust online reviews from strangers we’ve never met as much as a recommendation from a family member or friend.
We’re happy to invest time and emotion in following perfect strangers on Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook and it’s uncanny how many individuals you can feel like you genuinely know from their content, when in reality you’ve never met and their online life is essentially just their highlight reel.
Like it or loathe it, the fact is that we do form connections with people based on the information they choose to share online, and building sales relationships has never been easier. People buy from people, so the more you share of yourself (within reason) on social media accounts, the more people feel like they know you.
Moreover, people buy from people like themselves. It’s far easier to trust someone you feel you have something in common with. Consider how you met some of your greatest friends in the real world.
You likely build relationships with people who have something in common with you don’t you?
Whether it’s a mutual love of dogs, being a single parent or feeling discriminated against for having tattoos or brightly coloured hair, you can be sure that if someone sees something in your online profile that reminds them of their own situation, they’ll be more likely to like, trust and buy from you.
Finding the balance between business relevant content and just enough personal content to build your personal brand is key. Too much business can bore even the most straight laced business professionals, but too much personal and you risk watering down your professional brand.
There’s no one size fits all approach to social platforms, and what works for one social platform may not generate leads on another.
Understanding your own professional network, building new connections in your target audience and starting more genuine conversation are all great places to start. Focus on sharing valuable content.
From there you can play around with the right cadence of business vs personal to attract the target companies or decision makers you want to build a sales funnel from.
What makes social selling important?
The answer to this might surprise you, and it’s that it’s not. At least, it’s not the only important thing. Having a well rounded sales strategy means focussing on more than just social channels for your business leads.
Building relationships is the most important thing, and sales success will always depend on how well you do that. Social selling is really just one tool in your wider sales strategy.
The sales process your sales teams follow, how you look after existing customers and how the buying process feels will all contribute to your online brand however.
So keeping the focus on using social media platforms to help you with lead generation and ensuring you hit your sales quotas, what does make social selling important?
There have been many success stories of brands catapulting to fame online, using social media to build communities and devoted follower count. Brands like Gymshark and Huel have both done this incredibly well.
For them building a professional brand happened as a direct result of their social selling efforts.
Your social media presence tells customers a lot about you as an individual, and also the business in general.
Having as many sales reps from your business as possible active on your preferred social selling platform just makes good business sense – as long as they truly understand the brand values and act in the brands best interest, social media can be an incredibly powerful tool for your whole sales team to start to build meaningful relationships with your customer base.
That helps them understand consumer needs, build trust, deliver the right sales pitches at the right time and beats traditional selling hands down for closing deals.
So does social selling work?
Social selling is far outstripping more traditional selling methods like private messages, and cold calls. Tools like LinkedIn Sales navigator ensure that you’re not going in blind to sales conversations and that your sales rep stands a chance at genuinely engaging your target audience.
The downside of social selling is that social selling best practices have evolved over the years and there are a vast amount of social selling tips out there. It can feel a little overwhelming, especially to new sales representatives.
The best advice we give the clients we work with on social selling is to try and relax, and be themselves as much as possible.
Social media has huge potential audiences, and you won’t ever please everyone with your content or approach, so instead, aim for a well defined target audience who you really understand and tailor your social selling program to them.
Make sure you have the business core values underpinning and acting as a sense check on your posts, that way, ever whilst being authentic and true to your personality, you’ll remain consistent and on brand.
Who created social selling?
Whilst the University of British Columbia discovered the science behind social selling as a sales tactic, it was Nigel Edelshain who was first to put the science into practice and coined the term sales 2.0.
Is email a social selling?
Email can form a part of your social selling strategy, but on it’s own wouldn’t be considered social selling. The clue is in the name, social – if there’s no interaction, if it’s just one way email traffic then there’s not the same chance to build a relationship or create trust.
If you’ve already had some interaction with a business online via social media, then following up with email is more likely to yield a positive result than a cold email with no relationship building at all.
Social selling is an essential tool for all sales and marketing professionals to get to grips with. With the range of social listening tools, social listening alerts and online research now available to drive consumer insights into what works, which social media channels are most impactful and where social sellers should focus their efforts, it’s well worth investing the time into social media.
Look at your social selling index to gauge where your company currently sits within the social media sector, and ensure that your current social selling strategy meets your business purposes. Social buying is becoming one of the fasted ways to reach your sales goals so there’s never been a better time to ensure your sales representatives switch from cold calling to building online networks and increasing their social presence!
Get in touch today if you’d like to supercharge your approach to social selling.