Social Selling is the act of developing referrals, leads and sales using social media. Frankly, it’s difficult for most sales directors and managers to introduce Social Selling into their operation, due in part to the varying stages of social media aptitude within a sales team. Sales managers themselves are often new to social media and some flat-out deny its value.
In order to turn a sales team into Social Selling ninjas, specific techniques are introduced which compliment the sales process without disrupting the overall flow of sales production.
There’s a large contingency of sales directors, managers and salespeople out there right now who are completely satisfied with the status quo. They seem to eke out a month of barely-sufficient income to tide them over to the next month, where it all begins again. They prefer the current state of affairs and hang onto it like their childhood blankie.
There’s a smaller, more proficient group of ninja warriors who make it their mission to challenge the status quo in order to succeed and shine. These are the superstars who consistently look for better ways to sell. They’re interested in using technology to become influencers in their market and leverage it to improve their sales.
Consider this true story…
In a large car dealership sales department, a sales manager sees an opportunity to increase sales by leveraging the local Hispanic market. He decides to test it with some content ideas and Facebook ads but because he doesn’t speak Spanish, he offers the potential business to one of his Spanish-speaking salespeople.
He has the salesperson translate the ads and content into “conversational” Spanish and creates a sales funnel to make it easy to collect leads. This has the potential to be a goldmine for the salesperson.
What do you think happened?
Well, I hope you don’t think the salesperson took the ball and ran with it because you’d be wrong. The sales manager followed up with the salesperson a few weeks later and found that he hadn’t done anything at all.
The salesperson had a lot of excuses but the undaunted sales manager tried again.
“In order to recognize your team’s influence, start by having each salesperson do an online search on themselves to see what’s being said about them.”
Sadly, after eight weeks, still nothing had happened. This is the type of pushback there is when it comes to motivating a sales team, and in some cases, management, for Social Selling.
What’s really sad is that the marketplace isn’t getting any less crowded. Sales warriors need to devise ways to connect with customers on a meaningful level or they will get drowned out amid all the noise.
There is a war for attention right now and sitting on your hands as a sales tactic means you lose.
There’s no time to waste. It’s a simple choice of whether you want to lose…or you want to win. If you choose to be a winner, you’ll need a process to train your team and motivate them to Social Selling success.
5 Secrets to Turn a Sales Team into Social Selling Ninjas
- Identify and Leverage Your Would-Be Ninjas
Do the salespeople on your team simply go through the motions or are they proactive about developing relationships online? Great managers identify and leverage those on their team who embed their unique personality into the consumer’s shopping process.
Ways to spot Social Selling Ninjas in the wild:
- They embed themselves and videos into post-sale testimonials with the customer.
- They retain photos of clients and share messages with them 6, 12, or 18 months later, letting them know they’re thinking of them.
- They publish information-packed updates on social media to stay connected with customers and referral partners.
- They actively ask for referrals in a friendly, humble way.
- They follow up on personal matters and send hand-written notes when appropriate (yes, Social Selling can be offline too).
- They find a way to greet clients each time they’re in for service.
- They provide special deliveries when needed.
- They send thoughtful, inexpensive, creative gifts on special occasions.
Salespeople (and managers) must see themselves as marketers of their Personal Brand. Adding that personal touch really brings it to the finish line.
The salesperson that fosters connection and engages during each stage of the buying cycle remains influential when it’s time to buy.
- Reward Networking Tenacity and Accomplishments
Whether online or offline, networking is crucial to sales. Networking is the nucleus of Social Selling.
Savvy sales managers hire social salespeople who bring a network with them. Successful networking means wherever you go, you have a trusted referral network to fall back on and managers should reward those on their team who excel.
Demonstrating expertise is a great way to network. It’s one thing to connect with a prospect or current customer on social media. It’s another to keep them connected. The key is solid evidence that you’re a trusted resource.
Sales managers can offer a monthly reward for the best post-sale testimonial video or best visual evidence of great customer experience. Publishing this type of content on social networks strengthens credibility and optimizes referrals.
- Recognize Online Influence
FACT: Customers are Googling salespeople.
I recently had a friend purchase a vehicle based on the online reputation of the salesperson. More specifically, the salesperson had great reviews on Yelp and Google and that was the deciding factor for my friend’s purchase.
In order to recognize your team’s influence, start by having each salesperson do an online search on themselves to see what’s being said about them. Positive or negative, you and your team need to see what your consumers are seeing.
If nothing’s being said, well then that’s a solid opportunity for improvement.
The most common way that salespeople are found online is through social channels and online reviews. If you haven’t already, create and implement an internal process to capture your happy, loyal customers’ opinions. Salespeople must understand how these reviews can influence other customer’s buying choices and that a mention could make the difference in the sale.
With all employee initiatives, there’s a WIIFM (what’s in it for me) component that should be addressed before you launch. Managers must instill WHY online reviews and social profiles are important. Never force them to just do what you say – the result always has a negative impact.
Instead, recognize each team member when they’re mentioned positively in a review or social context. You can also recognize those that are mentioned negatively as a learning tool in your training process.
If someone on your team has a blog, give extra credit for blog posts that drive traffic, get shared on social or reach page one of search.
- Set Goals, Track Metrics & Leads from Social Channels
The further you drill down into the metrics of social media performance, the better equipped you are to educate your team and increase sales. Chances are you track each salesperson’s performance – their follow up, productivity, closing ratios, etc. Why not track their prospects and leads in social?
Begin by setting your social marketing/advertising goals as a company. Here are the top five we use at Kruse Control:
- Growth of fans/followers
Now, drill down further with each salesperson:
- Noteworthy connections
- Important referral partnerships
- Events attended or presentations (online and offline)
- Prospects in the pipeline
- Referrals (Leads)
- Check in at Sales Meetings
In every sales meeting, you cover where you are and where you need to go with your team. Your success as a sales manager depends greatly on your ability to motivate the team to meet their goals. Follow up with each salesperson on the results of their Social Selling.
Some of our clients have instituted spiff programs for best testimonials and mentions in verified 4/5 star online reviews. Checking in each week via the sales meeting is a great way to “gamify” your goals.
Consumers do business with the salesperson (and dealership) that’s provided solid evidence that other customers like them and trust them. Use these 5 secrets to turn a sales team into Social Selling ninjas so that once in the pipeline, your prospects know they’ve made the right choice.
Author: Kathi Kruse
Kathi Kruse is an Automotive Social Media Marketing Expert, Blogger, Speaker, Coach, Author and Founder of Kruse Control Inc. Born in the heart of Los Angeles to a family of “car people”, Kathi’s passion for the car business spans a 30-year career managing successful dealerships in Southern California. Kathi is the author of “Automotive Social Business – How to Captivate Your Customers, Sell More Cars & Be Generally Remarkable on Social Media”. Her Kruse Control Blog is the leading Automotive Social Media blog in the U.S.