Have you ever heard about the invention of pre-prepared meals? They might not seem like such a big deal now but to time poor, work busy Brits in the 1950s the invention of something that didn’t need to be peeled, boiled and baked was a big deal.
Fast forward to today and social selling is something that must be pursued by sales as a more informed market starts actively seeking solutions to their frustrations.
According to a Forrester report buyers may be between two-thirds and 90% of the way through their buying journey before reaching out to sales.
The people that are looking to buy your product are not waiting for you to approach them any more.
They are online, looking at their options. If you as a company are not online interacting in this space and being helpful, you’re 90% behind your customer’s buying journey.
Today customers can go online at any time and start researching a solution that perfectly suits their needs. They don’t have to wait for you to call or for you to be available for an appointment.
They can also ask their peers about their experience of certain products and ask companies themselves for recommendations and advice.
This is why even big companies like IBM are investing heavily in social selling. IBM realised that 75% of decision making IT professionals are expected to use social media as a crucial component of their decision making process in the future. So they ramped up their social selling efforts and invested in social media training for sales.
Social selling is not where you customer may be some of the time, it is where they are now – always.
How to get started
Like all new things, common behaviour and etiquette take a while to get established. The best way to use social media to sell, is to treat it like a more advanced version of what sales has always been – the creation of meaningful relationships.
Be genuine within the space, monitor what is being said and develop connections and contacts online that you’d traditionally make at events. Network, share your expertise and put time and effort into getting to know the people and key frustrations of your target market.
You must be genuinely helpful
Personality and humour has it’s place in social selling, it is about who you are and relationships after all, but you must offer something of genuine value. In the end, we don’t do business with the people we like. We do business with the people we trust and who offer genuine solutions to our problems.
You should be writing and posting about solutions to typical buyer frustrations and offering helpful advice to your buyers. Be the person in their space that is constantly making their life easier.
Marketing does the social media
The success of any business depends on the efforts of every single member of the team. Segmenting tasks is only harmful to your business as customer’s now expect sophisticated customer service and a business that understands and responds to their specific needs.
The sales team is often positioned to be the best advisor on what the company should be talking about. You spend all day talking to customers, understanding their frustrations and advising on solutions to their business problems. So why aren’t you writing those solutions down and helping as many people as possible?
It is not just about communicating
Let’s face it, every single person online is communicating. Gone are the days of sitting there and sending out carefully constructed stories and getting a lot of attention for your efforts.
Social selling is about creating something real, engaging in discussions and interacting with people.
It is about being helpful, useful and interesting and making sure you’re there for every step of the buying journey.