Six Ways to Succeed at Social Selling
Like it or not, we’re all in sales now.
Whether you’re a full-time sales person or a “non-sales seller”, as Daniel Pink says: “we’re all in sales now.”
Simultaneously, we are also all getting onto social networks in droves. The problem is, traditional selling methods and tactics don’t work well in the new, virtual spaces where we are conducting many of our business relationships.
Social selling is a set of adaptive behaviors that can help us “sell” our products and our services – even ourselves – in online social networks without coming across as pushy or “salesy”.
Here are six ways you can succeed at social selling:
1. Connect with your clients.
This is the most important group to connect with in social networks precisely because they are already your clients. They have already placed their trust in you and people like recommending who they do business with because it validates their original decision. Plus, if you’re not engaging your clients online, who is? Social selling is about deepening client engagement.
2. Connect with your respected peers and centres of influence.
Most businesses operate in an ecosystem of other businesses and influencers. Aligning yourself with the most highly respected peers in your space increases your visibility and profile. Social selling is about building a community around your business.
3. Connect with high-value prospects.
You should be connected with every one of your high-value prospects on LinkedIn. You should connect with those that are also on Twitter or other social networks as well. That way, you can get to know them and see what they are interested in and they can be notified when you share something of interest. Social selling is about building relationships first.
4. Share valuable content regularly.
If you are connected to your high-value relationships in social networks, then sharing great content becomes a way to add value and stay top of mind. Curate and “aggressively” share great articles on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. Tune into the data and take note of what your audiences are interested in reading, clicking and sharing. Social selling is about sharing and adding value.
5. Pay attention to your clients, peers and prospects.
Social networks facilitate conversations and conversation are always two-sided. You know how great it feels when someone likes, shares or comments on your content? Well, give that feeling to your network. You get as much or more from your network when you pay attention to them as you get from desperately trying to get them to pay attention to you. Social selling is about giving in order to get.
6. Publish your subject matter knowledge widely.
There are many, many places to share your knowledge and you should be using as many platforms as possible. Publish to your blog. Publish variations on these articles to Linkedin. Do you have a good slide deck? Then, publish it to Slideshare. Your PDF white papers will also work well on Slideshare. Social selling is about sharing what you know in order to help people move through the sales funnel.
Why Lasting Change Is Hard
Before we had any children, my wife and I lived in the heart of Dallas. One day, on our way back to our house, we were driving down Skillman Avenue when we were caught in a sudden torrential downpour.
The rain was coming down incredibly hard, which wouldn’t have been a problem if the storm drains were equipped to handle that much water. Instead, the road itself filled with water faster than we could have anticipated. Quickly, the water rose up the side of our car. Trying not to panic, we realized that we could not continue and would need to turn around and get to higher ground.
Water rising up the side of your car door is the kind of roadblock you might not expect to encounter, but when you do, it’s formidable. We couldn’t drive through it or even around it. We had to deal with it quickly or face serious consequences.
When we’re trying to implement change in our own lives, it’s important to identify and plan for common roadblocks to lasting change.
The first and, in my opinion, most important roadblock to lasting change is not addressing the real issue.
Let’s say you wake up in the middle of the night with a sore throat. You’re annoyed by feeling sick but your throat really hurts, so you get up and spray a little Chloraseptic in your mouth and drift off to sleep. When you wake up the next day, you still have a sore throat, so you pop in a cough drop and go about your day.
The change you’re making – using a numbing agent – might work if you’ve only got a cold, but if it’s strep throat, you’re not addressing the real problem. Only an antibiotic will cure what ails you, even if Chloraseptic will keep the pain at bay for a while.
Just like how more information is needed to diagnose your sore throat than one feeling, problems you encounter in your life or business require diagnostics, too. Figuring out the real problem – not just your most apparent needs – requires some introspection and a little bit of time.
Here are eight questions to ask when you need to discover the root cause, courtesy of MindTools.com:
- What do you see happening?
- What are the specific symptoms?
- What proof do you have that the problem exists?
- How long has the problem existed?
- What is the impact of the problem?
- What sequence of events leads to the problem?
- What conditions allow the problem to occur?
- What other problems surround the occurrence of the central problem?
Once you have your answers to these key questions, you can’t stop there. Your vantage point is skewed from your own perspective. You’re going to want to ask someone else to evaluate the problem at hand with the same questions and then compare your answers.
If you and all of the partners at your firm have similar answers, you’ll know you’re on the right track. If you wind up with wildly different ideas, I suggest seeking the advice of someone outside your organization. Fresh eyes can make all the difference in understanding a problem.
I often talk about being ‘too close’ to understand. You’ve probably heard the illustration about a group of people standing by an elephant with blindfolds on, trying to describe what they’re experiencing. Depending on what part of the elephant you’re next to, you’re going to have different observations.
But someone outside of that elephant’s cage can clearly identify the elephant.
The first key to making a lasting change is to make sure you’ve addressed the real problem and are looking for authentic change.
Next time, we’ll address the second major roadblock to creating last change.
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