Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a little sales tactic that could be called cold calling. Sounds chilly. It was a tactic used by some of the best of the best across all industries, and magically, it was wildly effective for many. Alas, like all effective tactics, eventually its day came, and it has slowly begun to fade.
The good news? Sometimes old tactics rise again. The bad news? Sometimes they become obsolete. Whether or not cold calling in modern times will become obsolete remains to be seen, but there’s no denying it’s not nearly as powerful as it once was.
Most people today are so busy they don’t even want to answer the phone for friends, much less speak to strangers trying to sell them something. Obviously, that makes gaining solid leads challenging, to say the least. Enter the era of social selling.
Social Selling Disclaimer
Contrary to popular belief, social selling is not social media marketing. While there are some parallels, the two are actually quite different, and that difference is in the presentation. In other words, it’s all about how you go about sharing information.
Social media marketing is almost commonplace in today’s culture. It’s basically using social media to cater to your customers, providing them with relevant info about your products and services, advertisements, deals, contests, and yes, even a great meme or two.
The biggest goal is to expand your brand’s reach by offering relevant, consumable content that engages your current audience and communicates what your brand is all about to newcomers to meet your marketing and branding goals. Additionally, much of social media marketing can be automated. Social selling, not so much.
So, What is Social Selling?
Sales teams often tackle social selling as a way to engage prospects on social media directly and build real, authentic relationships with them. The goal, of course, is more leads and more conversions, but another benefit is the ability to shorten the sales cycle.
However, the core focus of social selling is nurturing and building relationships. You might even have once called it relationship marketing because it’s all about your prospect.
This relational, personal aspect is why social selling is now called the new ‘cold’ calling because you’re reaching out to new potential leads, hoping to build a strong rapport that in the future may lead them to work with you or buy from you.
Tips for Social Selling Effectively
Think of social selling somewhat like guest blogging as a way to position yourself as an industry expert. Essentially you use your social media platform––instead of a guest blog––to create and engage in different industry-related conversations.
It’s these conversations that allow you to share your expertise and knowledge and position yourself as an industry expert that people can come to when looking for discussions, recommendations, and answers to any questions they may have.
Tip 1: Be a Thought Leader
People are attracted to confidence. Brands that also focus on the personal brand of key players on the team are important. Those key players will find that prospects are more willing to engage with them when they are perceived to be confident, knowledgeable, and approachable. You can create that persona by sharing content that’s relevant, thoughtful, and useful, whether it’s your own content or carefully curated content from other thought leaders in the industry.
Tip 2: Be Relational
Seriously, social selling is not spamming potential leads with the same message you’ve shot out en masse to others in your market. First impressions count, and no one will be interested in buying a thing from you if they don’t first know you, like you, and trust you. Spamming people negates all three of those because no one wants to know a pushy spammer. That means the ‘like and trust’ part never even reaches lift-off!
Tip 3: Patience is Key
Good instincts too, but patience for sure. Only pitch a potential prospect when you’re sure the time is ripe. That definitely won’t be in your first interaction! Remember, social selling is relational, so the goal is to build relationships first and pitch your product or service second.
If you do it right, by sharing information and real value, you might even have your lead coming to you to ask for more information, no pitch necessary. All because they like you and trust you so much, they naturally want to know more about what you have to offer and how your brand or business can help them.
Social selling is really not a new concept. It’s been around for a long time in varying forms, and it continues to be used today simply because it works. Yes, it takes some time and commitment, but so does anything in life that’s worth having. Give us a ring to discuss how to start social selling well and catapult your business up to new levels.