These days, buyers are keenly aware they have lots of purchase options for every problem. And with the internet having democratized information, buyers are less dependent upon sales expertise.
This creates a challenge for sales people to add value, and maintain contact with their prospects. After all, what's left to say when your buyers already have all the answers,
Fortunately, we now also have social media. We tend to think of platforms like Linkedin as just a tool to grow your prospect list. But social platforms are also an excellent vehicle to maintain top-of-mind awareness with buyers. When prospects are actively consuming your content, you are maintaining contact and adding value to their business.
Social platforms also make it easy to expand your conversation to include decision makers and other stakeholders.
Selling in conjunction with a social presence allows you to hone in on the right ‘decision-makers’ and aim for bigger and better deals. Your audience are just one click away and it's never been so easy to reach out to them. It's also easy to expand the conversation to include other stakeholders, too.
But how do you get their attention and keep them interested over a long period of time?
And how do you convert this into a sale?
Here are some habits you can adopt to achieve great social-selling results.
Publish Great Content
Not long ago the term “search engine” referred to Google, Bing, or a handful of other sites.
Not so much any more. In fact YouTube and Facebook both get more search queries than Bing. So it just makes sense to position your brand for a strong presence on one or more social platforms.
The easiest way to do this is to demonstrate thought leadership by creating, publishing and sharing great content.
Yeah, that's a lot of work. But does it work?
You bet. Not only are you creating resources that can be searched for indefinitely. You are also reinforcing your reputation as a niche expert.
And best of all, you've got a chance to really get noticed. If people engage with your content you can see hundreds, thousands, or more content views.
You won't be surprised to learn that 41% of B2B marketers consider Linkedin to be their most important social platform. Facebook was second with a healthy 30% of responses.
Part of the appeal of Linkedin is the site's focus on business content. Babies and puppies do pop up from time to time. But they are the exception rather than the norm. And because of the tight focus on business topics, Linkedin articles tend to stay in the feed longer than mass produced cat-memes.
Schedule Thoughtful Contribution
It's all about quality, not quantity. 89% of prospective buyers will click away if you don't demonstrate a depth of valuable knowledge, so substance is everything.
When posting on any social media site, the emphasis should be on giving your readers a new and intelligent insight, whether it be directly related to your company or not. This shows that you have expertise that are worth listening to.
Some sales trainers suggest using an app such as Pocket to save interesting articles, blog posts or statistical information that you read while commuting. That way, you can schedule meaningful posts based on the interests of your followers and prospective clients. This will, in turn, translate into an increase in followers and general dialogue.
Remember, quality of contribution trumps volume of contributions!
Better To Give Than Receive
At first glance, scheduling posts via an automated service is convenient for busy salespeople with full time jobs.
But social media is about more than just self-promotion. And automated services won't necessarily do you any favours. Attract some ‘social selling karma’ by putting aside some time each morning or evening to share, message or reply to comments in a way that makes your followers feel engaged with as individuals.
Automated social posts that are set up for the same time each morning can come across as artificial and insincere, so it's best to regularly contribute in a real-time way.
Quality, Not Quantity
Connecting with a high profile prospective client on LinkedIn, or getting a comment from a customer you'd love to add to your portfolio, can give you a false sense of achievement.
You may think that sending them a direct message pitch will be enough to spark their interest and close the deal all in one glorious click of the mouse. In actual fact, there's a good chance they may not even read your message, let alone engage.
Think of social media as a conversation, not an opportunity to reel off endless sales pitches.
You need to approach these clients in the same way you would offline – research their business. Find out what is important to them before reaching out with a contact. Just like with content, less is more. Invest in quality conversations, not high volume (low value) spamming.
Social selling is advantageous for any company. So pick the platform that's right for your business and start participating in the conversation. You'll enjoy several benefits:
- You'll be up to date with topics that are important to your prospects.
- You'll be able to keep in regular contact with potential clients.
- You'll establish yourself as a niche expert.
- You can expand your message beyond your contacts.
Start by scheduling just a few minutes every day. Focus on building consistency and quality communication to reap the benefits of social selling.
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Matthew Murray is the Managing Director of Sales Higher. Sales Higher is a B2B lead generation solution for small and medium businesses all over the world. Because sales people should be focused on closing deals, not grinding through data.