Wondering how to become a Social Selling Superstar?
It’s probably best to start with what NOT to do.
The Good Old Days
It’s funny, when Social Media burst onto the scene it was something magical and substantially different than what we see today. People treated it differently because it WAS something different.
Somewhere along the way, the old guards came in looking to make a few dollars off of this new-fangled, bright and shiny tool.
And instead of appreciating this new landscape and approaching it with caution, intrigue and tacts, they quickly sought to put it in a box and throw the same old tired techniques at it.
How to Truly Suck at Social Selling
Step 1: Assume that the “social” aspect of these channels is irrelevant
Instead of leveraging networks to meet people through warm introductions, mutual interests, or things you have in common, immediately approach people you do not know at all.
Ignore all social activity by your target.
Do not read what they post to understand their interests.
Do not read, watch or listen to their own content.
Do not look for mutual connections.
Do not seek out someone to pass along social capital on your behalf.
Step 2: “Just another connection”
Here’s where you get options:
Option A is to be as vague as possible. There is nothing quite so delightful as a connection request from someone who you do not recognize at all and who provides no context at all.
Option B is to immediately jump into a lengthy sales pitch. What’s nice is that because you did no research is Step 1 and found no warm way into this conversation, you’ll likely shock them into ignoring you entirely.
Nice work, you’re well on your way to truly sucking.
Step 3: Spam
By no means should you cease bombarding random people with messages, nor should you cease to follow up with people who didn’t respond to your initial message. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the old way of marketing and selling, it’s that repetition matters. Make sure you put in enough repetition that a <1% conversion rate will yield a reasonable enough result to justify your awful behavior.
Step 4: Declare Social Tools an abysmal failure
If you are not generating sales by now, there can be no other explanation other than the fact that Social Media just plain doesn’t work! Make sure to tell everyone how this fad will likely blow over soon, and that “still nothing beats good old fashioned pounding the pavement and cold calling.”
Now, let’s fix this picture
Social Selling isn’t as complicated as you might think.
Use your network to find side doors and back doors into your target companies by getting warm introductions into meetings with your target individuals and clients.
Maybe even make it easy for the people introducing you by writing the introduction for them.
Build profiles for yourself that tell the story you want prospects to see
Use testimonials, recommendations and endorsements to give the social proof necessary to make people feel comfortable with the decision to open a dialogue.
Use content to showcase your interests, and expertise.
There is nothing worse than reaching out to a salesperson and not hearing back for several weeks.
If you’re going to set up shop, take the time to do it right.
Listen to the web
Identify conversations that contain the trigger words signaling that someone might be a prospect, then seek to solve their problem. This can include status updates, videos, blog posts, or any other content that you can engage with to initiate a conversation with a prospect on their turf.
Initiate Conversations Properly
No one cares about you yet. Don’t start by selling, start by getting to know someone.
Make it about them, not you.
Along the Same Lines…Be helpful
Create sales resources that answer questions.
Host those resources publicly on social sites with pathways for leads to learn more and start a sales conversation.
Don’t create content that talks about your product, talk about the problem it solves.
Here’s the Secret Sauce
Everything above is about putting people first, and focusing on initiating a relationship rather than a sales conversation. It’s about thinking about the wants and needs of your customer first before you think about your profit margins and close rates.
The secret sauce of social selling is the “social” part. It’s the part where you take additional time and energy on someone by using the tools at your disposal to warm up the initial meeting, and gather business intelligence to better meet the needs of your prospects.