7 Sales Fundamentals Strengthened by Social Selling
It’s a fine line between reinforcing with sales professionals that sales fundamentals have not changed, while at the same time demonstrating that the way that sales professionals sell, must adapt in the age of social media. If you’re going to get your sales reps to buy in to social selling, you’ll have to train them on new tools, new concepts and a revised approach to selling. But at the forefront I find it helpful to meet people where they are and to ensure them that they don’t have to throw away the tried and true fundamentals of selling.
Sales Fundamentals are the Same, but the Way We Sell Must Change in the Age of Social Media.
7 Sales Fundamentals Strengthened by Social Selling
1. Always be Closing
ABC “used to be” “Always Be Closing”, but have you heard? It’s now “Always Be Connecting”. Buyers are spending 70% of the buying process online before they ever contact a seller. Recommendations are being solicited and answered more and more on social networks. You are no longer able to control the information about your product or service. The appropriate response, then, is that you help manage the conversation about your product online, and in social networks. Since your buyer buys differently than 10 years ago you’ll need to add a social layer up front in your sales funnel before the “Always Be Closing” part, and that includes developing peer to peer social relationships. In fact, peer to peer recommendations have been more influential than buyer to business recommendations for years and the trend is only getting stronger.
Social selling strengthens this sales fundamental because “Always be Connecting,” which social selling does so well, strengthens your ability to “Always be Closing”.
2. Always speak to the decision maker
When you engage with a potential new client, you only know if your time is being spent well if you are able to speak with the decision maker in order to understand the relevancy and potential of your services and experience. The great thing about social is that through research you can figure out who the decision maker is, and often find out a lot of information about them. You can also be an insider in your decision makers’ networks by being on LinkedIn or Twitter and partaking in the same discussions your decision maker is having within your industry. You can make an effort to be connected to her influencers in social discussions online as well.
Social selling gets you closer and makes you more informed about the decision maker, and those that influence her decision.
3. People like to do business with people they know and like
Imagine yourself as a known entity in social communities related to your industry. Envision yourself as a likable and knowledgeable figure on a particular subject in the Twittersphere and on LinkedIn Groups. You can do it. You can position yourself to already be in your decision makers sphere of influence before you even know they’re your prospect, and you can be a likable and knowable entity before you ever make contact.
If you present yourself regularly on social networks you become known, and if you provide value and demonstrate an authentic interest in your work, then, you’ll probably be liked, putting you ahead of your competition who doesn’t even know what a retweet is.
4. Sales is follow up
Following up is about getting to know more about where you stand with your potential buyer. You follow up with them to see what has changed, what new questions or new information they are dealing with in terms of their decision to purchase your product. Follow up is also about deepening your relationship with them and creating a consistency of interaction that can create a bond. That bond, (perhaps trust) is what can really get someone to say yes. Why not retweet your buyer; one of the top ways to get the attention of your potential buyer. Or tweet them with a link to an article you think they’d find interesting.
There is always a way to follow up with someone and social selling makes this fundamental even easier.
5. Listen carefully to your buyers so that when they express resistance, you can respond accordingly.
On social networks you can listen to the concerns and problems of your potential buyer, problems your broad industry is discussing, and often you can identify general industry concerns by what topics the experts are most often addressing in their blogs. When you understand what the general resistance or concerns the public (or a specific person) are expressing or asking about, you will be better equipped to meet their resistance effectively.
Social selling helps you listen to the problems your buyer has and informs your response to their concerns. In fact, by listening to their concerns you could simply change your service or product to match their needs so you can avoid having to overcome their resistance in the first place.
6. Create a sense of urgency
One way to create a sense of urgency using social selling techniques is by referencing others online who support your product or point of view particularly if they are writing about it today. Because news is most valuable when it’s hot of the press, when you share a supportive article that was posted today (or this second on Twitter), you are igniting a sense of excitement and a sense of urgency with your prospect.
Using social communication to communicate the latest news increases the likelihood you can get a response from your prospect today and be able move the sales process forward.
7. It’s always easier to sell something to someone you’ve already sold something to.
Maintaining your relationships beyond the sale is so important. It’s easier to sell something to someone with whom you already have a relationship and with someone you’ve kept in touch with regularly. Social networks provide a forum that allow you to easily continue to build value on your existing relationships by staying in touch with a quick retweet on Twitter or endorsement on LinkedIn.
Continue to nurture your relationship on social networks and the next sale will be even easier.
What other sales fundamentals do you think social selling supports?