My Own Definition of Social Selling
My definition of Social Selling is the act of being present and having conversations with people in your social networks that develop relationships and stimulate the sales process to generate sales.
It’s the act of being authentic and active on social networks to reach and be near your buyer. Although the process is based on social conversations it is not the passive, casual process of having conversations online and then one day someone says, “I want to buy your product.”
Social Selling In Three Steps
1) Be present on social networks
If you don’t have a phone, you can’t make a call. If you don’t have an email address you can’t receive an email. If you don’t have a car, you can’t get to the party. Your customers and prospects are at the social networking party so you need to have social profiles on social networking sites.
In contrast with email where you’re just a series of letters and numbers with an @ sign in the middle and a company name at the end, with a social profile, you’re somebody. And unlike regular email, when you send an InMail from within LinkedIn, the person on the other end immediately sees your “profile” and knows things about you that might qualify you to them. It’s the same when you communicate on Twitter. The person on the other end will know something about you from your “profile” which may include a link to your website or blog. Some of the things they’ll know immediately from a profile include the personality you portray from your photo, your city, relative age, work experience, and personal interests.
Now, why is that important? Well, we know selling is about relationships and we know your prospect wants to buy something from someone they know and like. They may not like you because you’re a Red Sox fan, but they will know you a bit better. And the things that you say and the updates you post on Twitter and LinkedIn provide your reader a greater sense of who you are, what you know, and who you know.
2) Be charming, interesting and provide value on your social networks
Customers and clients don’t want to do business with a nameless, faceless company. They want to be responded to personally on Twitter, they want you to already fit into their universe and they want you to customize their experience because they don’t have time for anything else. More about that from Jill Konrath here. I was watching a TedTalk from Angela Ahrendts the CEO of Burberry on LinkedIn the other day. She reminds us of the words of writer Maya Angelou. The message is that you will not be remembered for what you’ve said, or remembered for what you’ve done, but you will be remembered for how you made someone feel. And eliciting a positive feeling in your online conversations is essential to success in your relationship building and social selling efforts. (Heck it’s essential to all our online and offline interactions.)
An example could be making someone feel calm that you’ve provided them the information they need to make a decision, or it may be that you make someone laugh with a photo you post, or it may sharing a solution to someone’s problem. Communicating in a way that makes people feel good around you is the second step.
3) Continue to build relationships with people online and take those relationships offline.
No one said email and phone and a talk over coffee was bad. Use your social lead generating activities to get you that meeting or phone call. And once you’ve made the sale, stay in touch. Don’t disappear. You’ve now got your best advocate — your buyer — as a long term relationship who can refer more business to you, especially through the power of their social networks.
What ‘s your definition of social selling?