12 Quick, Essential Social Selling Tips (with Data-Backed Explanations)
Did you know that…
Which begs the question: Are you active on social media?
You should be.
Below you’ll find 12 quick tips to keep in mind as you go about social selling. (For a more complete guide to social selling, check out our free e-book.)
1. Set Goals.
What do you hope to accomplish by using social media for sales? Do you want to connect with 3 new people every day? Do you plan to generate 15 new leads every month?
Write down your goals.
Actually, strike that.
Don’t just write down your goals. Share them with your sales team, and hold each other accountable. Research shows that sharing objectives with others helps you reach them. In fact, goal-setters who provide regular progress reports are more likely to attain their goals.
2. Schedule Time for Social Selling.
You’re a busy person. It’s easy to put off social selling until after you have updated your CRM, until after you have answerd all your e-mails, until after you have complained to marketing that you need more leads, until… You get the picture.
Research from consumer psychology suggests that flexibility can be an impediment to achieving your goals. Being more rigid actually makes you more effective in accomplishing your goals.
So, say to yourself, “Every day at 2pm, I will try to connect with 5 new contacts. Then, I will share one new piece of content with my networks.” It sounds robotic, but it will help you be a better salesperson.
3. Go Where Your Prospects Are.
100% of business decision-makers use social media for work purposes (Forrester). In other words, your buyers are on social media. No doubt about that. You just have to research where they are.
Slides seven through 18 can help you find your audience:
But the best way to find your potential buyers is to ask. Ask your current customers which social networks they are active on – for business purposes. And then go from there.
4. Don’t Try to Create a Social Media Presence on Every Network.
You have 24 hours in a day. You won’t have time to build connections with people on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Ello, Snapchat, and every other social network out there.
Research has shown that high performers (like elite violinists) do not spend more time doing an activity. Rather, they simply use their time more effectively by being more deliberate.
In other words, don’t waste your time. Be more deliberate. Choose your networks carefully and choose your prospects even more carefully. Then, create a plan for how you will stay in contact with those people.
5. Complete Your Profile.
To gain someone’s trust on social media, you need to give out some personal information. Your name, your face, your company, your work experience, perhaps where you live. People need to look at your bios and understand who you are.
In fact, according to LinkedIn’s research, B2B buyers are more likely to engage if the professional has a complete LinkedIn profile.
6. Don’t “Pitch-Slap.”
This is a term that I learned from Ann Handley’s handy dandy guide to writing. “Pitch-slapping” refers to the act of walking up to someone and immediately selling to them. Believe it or not, that’s a turnoff for a lot of buyers.
Essentially, what you are doing is the equivalent of a cold call on social media.
When you send someone a cold connection request (and, to boot, you try to sell to them right away), the recipient is less likely to view you favorably. Only 4% of B2B buyers have a favorable impression of cold connection requests on LinkedIn.
Think of it another way. Would you walk up to someone at a cocktail party and begin to talk about your product or service without any introduction? Probably not. The same rules apply to social media.
7. Share Content.
There’s an easy way to avoid pitch-slapping. Share content instead.
Relevant videos, blog posts, news articles, etc. build trust with your audience, and they establish you as a thought leader. Did you know that…
8. Become the Best Student of Your Industry.
Number eight goes hand-in-hand with number seven. To leverage the right content, you have to understand your industry.
At first, it might seem like a daunting task. How can you become wicked smart in a wicked short amount of time?
Well, it will take some time and effort. Think about when you tried to ace an exam in high school or college by osmosis. How did that turn out for you?
Set aside a chunk of time every day (see the second rule). Use that time to build your expertise. In fact, in today’s world, you have to know your stuff.
89% of buyers turn away from a deal if the salesperson doesn’t have insights or knowledge about their business.
9. Ask for an Introduction.
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 84% of B2B decision-makers begin their purchase from a referral. In other words, ask your social network for introductions.
Don’t know how? Here’s an explanation of how to ask for referrals on LinkedIn.
10. Research Your Prospects on Social Media.
Take the time to do a Google search on your prospect. Look the prospect up on LinkedIn. And what do they tweet about?
Try to find insights that you can bring into discussions with the prospect.
Why? According to Forrester research, personalization greatly increases customer retention and loyalty. Taking an extra few minutes today can impact your business in the long run.
11. Don’t Worry about Accepting Every LinkedIn Request or Following Every New Twitter Follower.
65% of B2B buyers say that their network is critical for checking references.
Imagine this scenario…
You’re trying to do business with Mr. Prospect. Mr. Prospect looks at your LinkedIn connections and sees that you share a connection. (Let’s call her Mrs. Connection.) So, Mr. Prospect reaches out to Mrs. Connection to do a background check.
Mrs. Connection says, “Actually, I can’t remember why we are connected.”
How’s that going to reflect on you?
Focus on the quality of your connections. Not the size of your network.
12. Consider How Social Selling Software Can Help.
Selling is a complicated process. But software can make it easier. The best social selling tools will:
- Provide you with business intelligence
- Help you stay on top of industry trends
- Allow you to easily share content to your social networks
Here’s a list of 15 questions you should ask when evaluating social selling tools.
What about you?
What are some of your social selling tips? Leave them in a comment below. And while you’re at it, let me know which tips you found to be the most helpful.