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In the age of the Internet, consumers frequently turn to social media networks for information before making a purchase. Since buyers now make many purchasing decisions on social media, entrepreneurs can use social media to sell products and services.
What Is Social Selling?
Social selling is a method used by sales teams and sales professionals to build relationships with potential buyers. This sales strategy originally depended heavily on generating new leads through cold calling, but today social sellers primarily use social media networks. Important aspects of social selling include sharing relevant content with new prospects, developing a personal brand to stand out from other competitors, and implementing a social listening strategy to more effectively engage with your target audience.
B2B sales (business-to-business) are most likely to incorporate social selling as part of the sales process, as are companies that specialize in products or services with significant financial stakes to the buyer (such as real estate).
6 Benefits of Social Selling
Social selling can be invaluable for a sales rep. By using social selling techniques, you can:
- Engage with new prospects and maintain a deeper relationship on a long-term basis.
- Use the immediacy of social networks to actively communicate with potential customers.
- Use social listening to monitor your leads' accounts for signals indicating that it's an optimal time to reach out or follow up, thus increasing the chance that your messages are well-received.
- Shorten your sales cycle (the time it takes to close a sale with a customer).
- Increase your number of potential leads.
- Increase your sales conversion rate.
4 Tips for Social Selling
Social selling is all about building relationships, being approachable, and demonstrating your value. While you may feel like social media platforms are oversaturated with content, follow these tips to stand out among your competitors and increase sales.
- Build your personal brand. B2B buyers are much more likely to communicate with a salesperson on social media platforms if the salesperson comes off as a thought leader in their industry. To build a respected personal brand, create thoughtful, relevant content and share it in places where your target audience will see it. You can also share content from other accredited sources to show that you’re constantly learning from other thought leaders in your field. When you interact with potential clients, be confident but approachable so you come across as an industry expert who's willing to share their knowledge to help others.
- Make your leads feel comfortable. There are several easy steps you can take to build trust and make a good impression. Try to personalize your messages so your lead doesn't think you're spamming potential buyers with the same mass generic message. If you share any personal or professional contacts with your lead, make sure to namedrop them to help put your lead at ease.
- Only pitch when the time is right. Your goal shouldn't be to make a sale with your first post or first message, but rather to build relationships that gradually lead to a sale. This means you should avoid constantly talking up your service or product, and instead aim to provide potential clients with valuable insight that can help their business. Once you build trust and establish a relationship with a potential client, it's much easier to effectively pitch what you're selling—and if you've done a really great job at showing your value, they might even approach you to buy before you approach them.
- Keep an eye on your competitors. Privately monitoring your competitors' social selling strategy is important so you don't get too complacent with your own methods. Plus, keeping tabs on your competitors will often give you new ideas for improving your own social selling strategy.
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