Written by Kaysi K. Curtin
Social media is so prevalent now, in regular life and business. We all have our favorite social media platform we like perusing, whether that’s business networking on LinkedIn, catching up with old high school buddies on Facebook or learning the newest dance craze on TikTok. If you haven’t caught onto that craze yet, don’t worry, there’s still time!
So, what is social selling exactly? If you’re thinking it’s like social media marketing, boy are you wrong. While social media marketing drives awareness, social selling drives revenue. Social selling grants salespeople access to laser-target prospects by leveraging their social network. In doing so, you are able to cultivate more trusted relationships, and in conclusion, achieve your sales goals. If you’re really good, you may even get to ditch the dreaded practice of cold calling. Do I have your attention now?
We all know the old dusty Rolodex became obsolete decades ago once digital networking was readily available and at your fingertips. Your social networks allow you to see just about everyone in your 1st, 2nd and 3rd degrees of “separation.” Salespeople, like most all Americans, use social media platforms regularly, however many salespeople do not use it for social selling. Well friends, if you haven’t incorporated social selling into your process, you’re already losing business to more socially savvy competitors.
According to a study done by LinkedIn Sales Solutions, 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media. If you’re looking to be a part of that 78% you need to know the proper way to engage “socially” on virtual platforms. Before we discuss WHAT to do when it comes to social selling, lets first discuss what NOT to do.
Most of us can think of a time when we’ve received a friend request from someone we’ve never heard of, wanting to connect. No surprise, most of us treat such requests like spam because that’s what it is, and delete them as fast as they come in. If this is the approach you’re using, there is no doubt you are getting lumped in with the “get rich in less than a month” type of emails.
Social selling isn’t about slamming potential prospects you don’t know with private messages. Not only does that send the wrong message, it’s also as obnoxious as unsolicited advice from your Aunt Betty who’s had it in for you since you were a child.
When you make your first contact, the goal is not to create a sale as quick as you can. Decision-makers and potential clients in companies get torpedoed on a daily basis with solicitations, cold-calls and spam. It’s no wonder why they are immediately turned off by anyone overtly selling. Yet, salespeople still do it. Yikes!
Instead, businesses should be approaching social media messaging and requests for connections from the perspective of finding common ground. Connection requests should show that time has been taken to learn about a contact before reaching out, and show genuine interest. The request message must be personal, relevant and mutually beneficial to the person receiving it, in terms of networking.
All top sales performers are leveraging social media to cultivate relationships through social selling. Do I believe cold calling will ever go away completely? Not likely. However, social selling is doing a great job at turning that cold call into a nice warm fuzzy one.
Kaysi K. Curtin is president and owner of Sandler Training for the Fresno market. For more information, visit www.kcurtin.sandler.com.