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.
Advisors Will Be Extinct in 5 Years Unless…
I’ve had financial advisors for more than 40 years. Not once in those years have I called my advisor to find out what stock/funds I should buy or sell. But I have called to find out where I should get my first mortgage, when to sell my house, or how much income I could get in retirement.
In short -- and I think I’m pretty typical – I was looking for financial advice, as it relates to my life.
Here’s the disconnect, what most advisors do is simply manage their clients’ assets. They determine what to buy, and what to sell, they think about risk management, about growing their practice by finding new clients and about getting paid.
Historically that has been the business model. But as more women take control over financial assets, they, like me, will be looking for a different experience. And unless the financial community is willing to change ….. advisors, as they are today will be extinct in five years.
Advisors who want to survive will have to do a lot more than just manage money – they will have to provide genuine “advice”. That means doing what’s right for the client, not pushing product and pretending it’s advice.
Women especially, but all investors generally, are becoming more and more cynical. They says, “If I want advice about reducing my debt, that’s what I want and not ‘here’s more debt’ because that’s what my advisor gets paid for! And if saving taxes is what I want then saving taxes should take precedent over selling me a product.”
You may be thinking that spending your time providing advice isn’t lucrative but the reality is that in the long run – it pays off in spades. The advisors who take the time to build real relationships with clients, who provide advice as it relates to their clients’ lives, even when there is no immediate financial benefit to themselves, those who don’t simply push product – are the ones who over time have the most successful practices.
Generally women understand and value service, but they will say, “If I’m paying, I want to know what I’m paying for: Is it for returns? Is it for advice? Is it for administration? I want to know. Then I can make up my mind what’s worth it and what isn’t.”
Investing is becoming a commoditized business and technology is replacing research that no one else can find. Today the average advisor is hard pressed to consistently beat the markets, and with women emerging as the client of the future, unless they start providing real advice, their jobs will likely be extinct in five years.
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