We hear a lot about how social media creates brand awareness, establishes you as an expert, and propels your marketing. But what about social selling? Can you actually use social media platforms to close business, especially if you’re in the B2B space? The answer is YES, but know that social selling is an entirely different animal from traditional sales strategies. Think of it like this, you connect on social media, then you educate them about your expertise, then you engage with them to build the relationship and then close a sale.
Simply Be There, and Be Active
The fact that 75% of B2B buyers leverage social media to support their decision making means you have no choice but to have a social presence. Furthermore, a 2014 Google study showed that 46% of decision makers are now aged between 18 and 34 years old which is the largest social media user demographic. So if your target audience is hanging out on certain social channels, you need to be there too.
What does being active on social media look like?
- Posting updates at least a few times a week: mix company news and useful articles
- Target only the social channels your audience frequents
- Build engagement: Participate in groups, chats and dialogue with your connections
Leverage social scheduling software such as Sprout Social to build a daily schedule of content you want to share. Just remember to go back and check your social accounts a few times to day to share directly and build engagement.
Go for the Relationship First
Sales reps are taught to sometimes be aggressive when it comes to closing a sale, but that won’t cut it on social media. The name of the game in this environment is connecting and adding value. Consider social media like a giant cocktail party. Be more interested than interesting. Don’t be the guy who’s blasting through the party, handing out his business cards without even talking to people. Don’t push people to buy your product. Instead, work on developing relationships. It will take longer to close a sale, but in the long run, you will have more information to make a stronger proposal.
How can you connect to leads and prove your worth?
- Answer questions that you’re qualified to respond to
- Comment and share the content of your potential customers and
- Demonstrate your expertise through case studies and online courses
Services like Kajabi can help you sell more
Professional service providers can productize their expertise with online digital products. Although you can advertise your services on social media, there’s a better way to tap into the people who are plugged into your brand by creating specific digital products for them. You can turn popular content into a sellable product; think about launching a membership site, group coaching program, online courses, or pay-to-play webinars. Can you see your cash flow increasing?
Listen to Your Demographic
You can learn so much if you just listen. By following people in social media you are targeting to learn valuable insights into how to better reach this audience.
Let’s say you sell online accounting software. By following small business owners on social media, you might learn by “eavesdropping” on conversations that many struggle with making enough money to stay afloat, managing their accounting, and being overwhelmed with the amount of work they have to do daily. With this knowledge, you can shape your next sales campaign. You could publish a free ebook that addresses solutions to their pain points. Offer packages for each of their biggest problems.
Here’s how to be a better listener and get the right information out of social media:
- Search for hashtags that your audience uses in social
- Participate in industry related-FB groups, LinkedIn groups or Twitter chats
- Follow and listen to your actual customers and competitors
Reward social media connections for sharing.
Use a service like chirpify to connect in social and chat to build an online loyalty program. You want to reward customers who engage and share things about your brand across all social channels, not just when they buy.
Use it as Research
Before a sales presentation, dig through social media to find ways to connect. Won’t your connection be surprised at what good attention you’re paying to his activity when you mention that you worked at the same place or ask about his children, after he posted a photo of his son’s Little League championship game. Not only do you want to show that you have personal interest in him, but you also want to glean any details that might shape your presentation
Before your next sales meeting:
- Set up a Google alert on the business name to track media mentions
- Scour the lead’s social media profiles, and pick one personal point to mention
- Look at the company’s social profiles to see if there is any relevant company news
Keep in Touch
It’s important to continue to interact with your lead via social media. It takes time to build a trust relationship. Don’t be aggressive (just like with real dating); instead, be subtle. Continue to share his content and commenting where relevant. Monitor what he’s talking about. Social media provides an excellent platform to keep in touch. If you do your job and stay top of mind, he’ll be more likely to come back to you with a business opportunity at some point.
Social selling is an important skill for any business owner to learn. Stop all the cold calling and focus on engaging prospects online, it will change your business.