By Kathi Kruse
The more we share, the more we have...
Although it’s become a buzzword, there’s still huge value in the act of social selling. The problem with buzzwords is that some people who don’t know exactly what they mean, act as if they do.
Where it gets dangerous is those “actors” decide to sell tactics around the buzzword and those who buy the tactics wake up one day saying, “Wow, this isn’t working for me.”
I would like social selling to work for you.
The first place to start is understanding that social selling is a process (just like any other sales process) whereby you build a network (online or offline) to increase referrals both ways and leverage relationships to create warmer leads.
Many talented sales professionals already have an offline network they’ve been nurturing for years. In order to attract, engage and sell to today’s modern, hyper-connected buyers, you need to build a process to connect with your network via social media.
Where you start is governed by two factors:
— Which platform you feel most comfortable using.
— Where your target customers are spending their time.
Beginning your process with both of these factors in mind will get you the traction you need.
Sales does not have to be a fight.
So many buyers and sellers come to the table with their armor on, ready to do battle. There’s no need to fall into the adversarial trap when you sell. Use a social- selling process to get out of the game of sales and onto the same side of the table with your customer.
Before we get to the five steps I’ve promised on social selling, it’s important to know that being genuine is a prerequisite. You will fail if you just go through the motions, trying to demonstrate qualities that are associated with emotional intelligence. You have to be genuine.
Studies have shown that people who have high EQ (emotional intelligence) make $29,000 more annually than people with low EQ. Ninety percent of the top performers have high EQ.
Social selling fact: If you’re genuine in real life, you’re genuine on social media. If you’re disingenuous in real life, you’re disingenuous on social media.
Selling from the same side of the table means your customer feels understood and comfortable. You know your customers so well that they feel a connection with you.
The 5 steps to sell from the same side of the table with social selling
Once you’re decided to be genuine (and yes, it is a decision), it’s time to put a process in place to build your network and grow your referrals.
Step 1: Identify prospects in your network
This first part of your process is about deciding who you want to deepen your relationship with. Within your network, there are two types of prospects:
— Those who are buyers of your product or service.
— Those who are available to become a referral partner.
Take a look at who is actually in your network and make a list of 20 people you’d like to connect further with. It’s not enough to simply be connected. People get busy and it’s on you to take the action required.
Step 2: Identify prospects out of your network
Dreams don’t work unless you do.
You never know how far you can go if you don’t decide who can help you get there. LinkedIn Premium (paid) is a great tool for this step.
Make a list of your top 10 “dream” customers. Using LinkedIn’s Advanced Search, investigate who in your network knows someone who can connect you to one of your dream customers/clients.
Step 3: Connect and deliver value to those prospects
Relationships are leverage. If you’re the first to provide value to someone else, you have leverage.
Solid, original, high-quality content is the most valuable thing you’ve got to give. It attracts prospects and referral partners and makes the connection memorable.
When you connect, offer them evidence of your value:
— Your helpful e-book on the “10 Tips to…”
— Your personal website or Facebook page that contains helpful info.
— Your stellar online reviews (many companies are providing salespeople with their own review pages).
— Your LinkedIn profile where your participation in your industry as a thought leader is unmistakable.
Step 4: Let expertise “introduce” you
When I started out, all I had was my site and my content strategy. I understood that without lending my expertise through content that I would not have a chance against the big companies that have millions of marketing dollars.
Do the work. Publish content regularly that illustrates your expertise.
Offer to do a “Lunch & Learn for your biggest prospects.
Step 5: Begin initial conversations
We’ve all received unwanted messages from people and companies who’ve not established any value with us. Today, spam is much more than just an unwanted message. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth about that person or company for a very long time.
Initial conversations that have been “pre-introduced” through helpful, expert content or from a referral partner have a much higher chance of turning into sales.
Reaching and educating customers has dramatically evolved.
Take these 5 steps to up your game and become a master at social selling. A warm lead beats a cold call any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
This column was published first on .