Everyone wants to be remarkable. Every salesperson wants to be the ONE who customers choose, over and over again. But many salespeople are lost with today’s technology. The advancements in social media and content management platforms have made it easier than ever to engage and stay connected with customers. There’s never been a better time to incorporate Social Selling into your sales process but if you’re a beginner, it’s a scary place.
79% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers.
It’s easy to fall into the familiarity trap when performing your job. You go to work, you do your job and you go home. Complacency sets in and the next thing you know, leads and referrals dry up and you’ve got nothing in the pipeline.
All Social Selling starts with a customer-centric mindset.
Great salespeople have two distinct qualities: empathy and ego-drive. In Social Selling, it’s the optimal balance of these two qualities that determines who wins the sale…and who doesn’t.
The need to conquer is a valuable quality. It makes salespeople want and need to make the sale in a personal way, not merely for the money gained. The feeling must be that he or she has to make the sale; the customer is there to help fulfill his or her personal need.
What sometimes gets overlooked in selling is the salesperson’s ability to feel. Empathy is the important central ability to feel as the other person does in order to sell them a product or service. One cannot sell well without the invaluable and irreplaceable ability to get powerful feedback from the client through empathy.
You’ll have much more Social Selling success if you can imagine what it’s like from your customer’s standpoint. The purchase of your product is a milestone for them. Maintaining a customer-centric mindset through empathy keeps you focused on “what’s in it for them” (instead of what’s in it for you).
10 Social Selling Actions to Look Like an Expert
Possessing a nice balance between ego-drive and empathy throughout the entire sales process helps serve your customers better. Your next steps are crucial.
1. BUILD A RECOGNIZABLE PERSONAL BRAND
There are two things that differentiate you from any other person: Your face and your expertise. It’s important to be yourself.
Personal branding is a sales leadership requirement. Building a recognizable personal brand opens professional opportunities.
Every time you’re online, in a meeting, at a conference, networking reception or other event, you should be mindful of what others are experiencing about you and what you want others to experience about you. Each of these engagements is similar to a job interview – expect in these cases you are being evaluated by your customers and peers. Those who know how to live and manage their personal brand will earn respect in any situation.
At first, this is a bit of a challenge. However, when you start to see yourself living through the “lens of a brand,” your perspective will change and you’ll become more mindful about how you approach the personal brand you are trying to define and aiming to live.
Personal branding, much like social media, is about making a full-time commitment to the journey of defining yourself as a leader and how this will shape the manner in which you will serve others. Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving.
2. RESEARCH WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS AND REFERRAL PARTNERS SPEND TIME
Pinpoint which channel your ideal prospects occupy the most. LinkedIn is a good first choice, especially for beginners. Whether you’re selling to consumers or businesses, LinkedIn provides a wealth of information with their advanced search options.
Please consider the paid option for LinkedIn. It delivers much better search results and pays for itself when you close one deal.
Other channels can be valuable too. If you’re comfortable with Facebook or Instagram, use your personal account to start. Your friends and family know you and it’s important that they remember you when their connections need what you’re selling.
3. LAUNCH ON THE SOCIAL CHANNEL THAT SCARES YOU THE LEAST
Go easy on yourself. Pick the platform you feel the most comfortable with. If you don’t have one, dive in and make a choice. Set your privacy setting high to give your “lizard brain” a sense of control.
Spend at least 30 minutes a day on this first platform. Look around, see who you know and participate a little. You’ll get more and more comfortable every session.
A good plan that’s well executed will always overcome fear. Research who you know and who you want to know. Does your company have a special product, service or pricing that’s ideal for a particular customer or group of customers? Make a plan to connect with that customer or group and begin to provide value for them.
4. BUILD YOUR SOCIAL PROFILES
Success in Social Selling starts with professional and well-optimized profiles.
Take advantage of the “free real estate” that social media gives you. Be consistent with your image and bio on each platform so people will recognize your brand wherever they go.
Although you’re not going to leverage every channel right now, it’s best to create placeholders so that competitors don’t beat you to it.
5. COMMIT TO PUBLISHING RELEVANT, HELPFUL CONTENT ON A REGULAR BASIS
Successful content gets the right message to the right customer at the right time. The information you publish on social media drives your results. It’s how people perceive you and the level of help you can provide.
As a Social Selling beginner with a customer-centric mindset, follow this framework:
- Always represent your personal brand
- Know your customers inside and out
- Answer your customers’ most frequently questions
- Show what it’s like to do business with you by incorporating your repeat customers’ testimonials
Provide value by answering prospects’ questions and offer thoughtful advice until the prospect is ready to buy.
Video is one of the best ways to convey your helpfulness and expertise. Many beginners are apprehensive about being in front of a camera. As an introvert, I can relate. However, it gets easier every time you do it.
If you feel comfortable using video, go for it. If not, still go for it. Eventually, you’ll find a comfortable place that works.
6. LEVERAGE THE POWER OF A SOCIAL CRM
As you progress, you’ll need to keep track of the people you meet online. Nimble is an amazing tool that does a lot (I’m not a paid endorser):
- Integrates social media data directly into a CRM and your email.
- Manages relationships without data entry. Nimble automatically updates itself with relevant prospect and customer information from dozens of data sources.
- “Smart Contacts” App. Whether you’re in your inbox, on a Facebook page, or just browsing a set of Google Search results, you can just hover over a contact or company name and the Smart Contacts App will automatically provide as much social information as it can find about them. The app also gives you the option to add that person or company to Nimble there and then (i.e., without having to go into the application) and update key information about them (lead source, status etc.).
7. CREATE YOUR SOCIAL SELLING PROCESS
If you’ve been in sales for any length of time, you know that having a process always helps you sell more. The same is true for Social Selling.
- Connect with current customers when appropriate
- Be the first to provide value in the relationships
- Listen for engagement opportunities
- Participate in conversations
- Create your own content
- Schedule Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn updates in advance with a tool like Hootsuite
- Like, comment on or share other people’s content
- Actively seek out who you’d like to know and identify who can refer you
- Recognize leads as the happen and offer to take your conversation offline
- Don’t forget to ask for the sale when appropriate
- Always ask for an online review or testimonial
8. CREATE AN AUTHORITY HUB
A personal website is the best way to promote your personal brand and expertise. It’s also the perfect way to provide content on the web for search engines to index.
Customers are Googling salespeople. What will they find when they Google you?
If you haven’t already, go grab the domain of your name. (example: kathikruse.com). You can install a free WordPress site in minutes and be blogging the next day. You’ll quickly gain inspiration for topics from your customers.
Written word may be a deterrent for you but consider this: You’re already answering your customers’ questions in real life. Those interactions need only be written down and edited. 300-500 words is all you need for a blog post.
If video feels more comfortable, it’s perfectly fine to fill your site with helpful tips through video.
9. MASTER THE ART OF NETWORKING
Building a referral network is no easy task. It takes time and diligence but it pays off tremendously, especially when you find yourself in dire situations like losing a client…or losing your job.
- Always have a goal. Know what you want before you begin.
- Do your homework. Brief yourself about the person you’re connecting with.
- Stay authentic. Be yourself, be friendly, be interesting.
- Quality over Quantity. Don’t try to be all things to all people.
- Figure out how to help people.
- Ask for referrals.
When you’re a beginner at networking, your first notion is to connect with as many people as possible. However, the exact opposite action is much more effective. Identify who you want to know. Leverage your current network to build more circles of influence. The more selective you are, the more valuable your network is.
10. SHOW UP TO GIVE.
“Show up to give, not to get. Share your ideas to help others and others will share your ideas.” ~Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek is naturally shy and doesn’t like speaking to crowds. However, his TED Talk is the 3rd most-watched talk (27 million views+ and counting).
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
When you’re able to convey why you do what you’re doing, you connect much deeper than just the “transactional” level. Show up to give, look for opportunities to help solve your customer’s problems, and watch your network grow – online or off!
If you’re new to Social Selling, these tips will give you a head start. You’ll need advice along the way.
If you’re a sales manager or business owner, the only true way to leverage Social Selling with your sales team is to train them to leverage social networking the right way. I’m happy to talk with you about your business goals and help you build a team ofSocial Selling Ninjas! Just send me a quick message here.
If you’re a salesperson, I’d love to hear about your challenges with using social media for sales. Please leave me a comment and I’ll reply. I get advice requests regularly and I’m working on offering an affordable, exclusive membership with weekly social media tips for car salespeople.
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. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org.