Sales has always been a social business, but now a lot of that socialization takes place online. While it is still important to build face-to-face relationships, you can supplement your sales strategy with Social Selling to take your small business to the next level.
For small businesses, it’s important to stay up-to-date and relevant, and that means venturing online. In a nutshell, Social Selling is defined by Hubspot as “salespeople [using] social media to interact directly with their prospects. Salespeople will provide value by answering prospect questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy”. It is a reality of our time that many of your potential leads will be found online, so it is important to engage in Social Selling to access and sell to these prospects. Below are four steps that will help you use Social Selling to increase sales for your small business.
Four Steps for Social Selling
Having a professional and established brand is a key component in Social Selling. In order to reach the right prospects and build lasting relationships with them, you need to have a personal brand that shows you are an active and knowledgeable source in your industry. By being an active participant you build credibility and put yourself into a position where you are looked at as a market leader. This further establishes your brand, which increases the likelihood that you will get responses when you reach out to prospects as well as having others reach out to you. As you grow your brand, you also grow your network of connectors and widen the pool for potential prospects.
The Social Network(ing)
Networking is a critical part of the sales process, and Social Selling incorporates that tenet - and takes it online. Use your social networks to reach out to prospects, and with the added time gained from not being “out networking” you should take the time to hone in on the right type of prospect. Do your research, be informed, and use that to target key prospects such as decision makers and gatekeepers, or people that will connect you with them. You have the ability to efficiently use your time focused on the right type of prospects - just like you have your information accessible through your brand, so too do your prospects. You can use that information to access targeted prospects like never before, in fact research has shown that Social Selling generates 40% more qualified leads than cold calling.
Once you have connected with targeted prospects, it is important to build up and nurture these relationships. This circles back to the first point, your brand, because being an active member within your industry is part and parcel with building and maintaining relationships. They all require that you are an active participant, whether that is producing meaningful content yourself, sharing content, engaging with prospects through networks such as linkedin and Twitter, and using the connections you’ve built to connect others as well.
Social Sell It
Don’t forget this step! Once you have built up your one-on-one relationships through the various social avenues available online (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, Whatsapp etc.) it’s time to make your move. By the time you ask to set up a meeting, your prospect should have a clear understanding of what you do and what your product or service entails. It’s important to not jump ahead to this step (unless your prospect seems eager for your product or service) until you have built up trust within the relationship. You may be asking for a meeting with a potential prospect, or you may be asking your contact to introduce you to someone that would be a fit for your product or service. Either way, you need to use the relationships you’ve built up to put you further along in the sales process.
Social Selling is happening - so it’s time to get on board. At the end of the day, Social Selling is about leveraging the accessibility of the internet to build relationships that help your sales process along. Build your brand, prospect for the right people, and build and maintain key sales relationships and then you will be on your way to selling socially. Has becoming an active online member within your industry lead to better lead generation for you? Have the relationships you’ve built led to more sales? Tell us in the comments.
1 The Definition of Social Selling [In Under 100 Words] http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-selling-definition-under-100-words#sm.0001ercbc91aresltpl117az0j79e
2 Social Selling: Nurturing Relationships into Revenue Webinar https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-selling-nurturing-relationships-revenue/