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What Is Social Selling and How Can I Master It in 2021?

Are you finding your inbound sales calls are few and far between? Are you about to pick up the phone to make another fruitless cold call? Or perhaps you are writing yet another email to bombard your outdated contact list with the same old offers? 

These methods don’t work in an online world anymore. Buyer behaviour has changed so dramatically that sales teams and business owners need entirely new methods of finding and engaging with prospects. 

Your potential customers are conducting their own research before they decide to buy. They are building relationships with brands before committing. They are looking for help, value and engagement before they convert.  

Selling has changed.

Marketing has changed.

The channels have changed.

It’s no longer about interruption marketing continually broadcasting offers and brand awareness. It’s about creating relationships that get customers to know, like and trust you.

“78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media”

 LinkedIn

Forget traditional marketing. Forget social media marketing. Your business needs a new playbook. A social sellingstrategy that will help you attract the right clients at the right time. 

However, making the shift and getting your sales team to follow can be hard, but these social selling techniques that you and everyone in your organisation need to get to grips with to turn contacts into contracts

What is social selling?

Social selling is not just about sharing company updates, marketing your products and pushing out social media information. 

Social selling is about how you can harness social media (e.g. LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube) to sustain long-term growth goals, year over year, while continuously enhancing your buyer’s experience.Participating in the social media community that your prospects are already active in turns you from a cold caller into a trusted member of their community.

Relationship building is at the core of social selling. It’s about creating two-way relationships with potential customers, and nurturing this pipeline with online conversations and providing relevant and valuable content that speaks directly to them. 

If you have the right social selling strategy, your business will be in front of mind when customers decide to buy. That meaningful relationship that has been nurtured through your social media accounts will make that prospect pick up the phone to you! 

How effective is social selling?

Organisations using social selling have seen a 10-20% increase in win rate, 20-30% acceleration in cycle time, and 10-15% increase in revenue.

KISSMetrics

Social selling can help you

  • Create more conversations with buyers in your target audience
  • Be more discoverable to decision-makers
  • Build your reputation and recommendations
  • Demonstrate your worth with social proof
  • Monitor prospects’ needs and wants
  • Drive traffic to your website

How do I start social selling? 

To start social selling, you need to make sure your profile and content are optimised. 

Now, LinkedIn measures your social selling ability based on its LinkedIn SSI score (Social Selling Index) – but the principles apply to any of your other social media channels as well.

In your SSI score, points are awarded to establish your professional brand, find the right prospects, engage with insights, and build relationships. 

A good social seller will typically have a  LinkedIn SSI score of 70 and above. Those that do, according to LinkedIn, create 45% more opportunities and are 51% more likely to achieve quota.

Therefore, to successfully social sell, you need to make sure you and your employees focus on improving these four components on the LinkedIn profile and any other business-related social channels. 

1) Establish your professional brand

Social selling requires a review of your professional profile, and if you are on LinkedIn, your employee profiles. As your employees are related to your company on LinkedIn, it’s important to have them all singing from the same hymn sheet and portraying the same brand image. 

Often, we treat our LinkedIn profiles as just an extension of our resumes. So many people miss out on vital fields that could be attracting customers. 

When it comes to social selling, employees need to think of their social media profile as a place where they can sell the core value proposition of the business, build trust and win work. 

Both you and your sales team need to have buyer-centric profiles that attract customers, not recruiters.

The bio and summary need to be written for that ideal customer. It needs to contain the right keywords, and the right messaging that will give you that edge. That headline should be selling your value proposition and be packed with information. 

  • Add all your valuable skills
  • Ask for endorsements
  • Add high-quality headshots
  • Include banner images that showcase your business or brand

All these elements are part of your social selling collateral.

2) Finding the right people

It’s not as simple as picking up the phone or going to business events anymore. Networking and prospecting have a different set of rules online. 

While talking to strangers can be daunting, there are several strategies you can employ to help you find and connect with decision-makers. 

Taking time to research, prepare and engage effectively before requesting connections is vital.  

LinkedIn has powerful tools like Sales Navigator to help you search and target the decision-makers that you want in your network. Twitter and Facebook have industry-related or business community groups that are ideal for finding customers to connect with.

3) Engage with insights

You need to create regular content and updates that really connect with the decision-makers. This needs to be carefully thought out, composed and scheduled, so it reaches potential customers at the right time.

Every piece of content needs to complement your offering and your brand. It needs to show that you understand the customer’s problem and that your brand or business has the best solution.

Besides creating your own content, you need to be taking part in conversations, sharing and adding your insight on industry trends or adding your perspective. 

You also need to create the type of content your customers want. So do they want short-form video or long white papers? Or perhaps they want quick tips and how to guides. Find out what content will connect with them. 

Above all, don’t forget the “social” aspect of social selling and be a valued contributor and community member.

4) Build relationships

It’s not enough to have 1000, 5000, 20000 contacts and followers. If they are never going to buy from you or never engage with you, they will not benefit your business. 

Your goal should be to generate and build long-term trust with real buyers and decision-makers. 

Try utilising social listening tools, and find out what’s trending in your industry.

Find out what customers are complaining about and whether they have any unmet needs. Empathise or demonstrate that you understand them. Discover what they are responding to and liking, sharing and engaging with. 

Part of your relationship-building should include posting content regularly and knowing how to tag and hashtag effectively in your updates. 

Video is also great for raising your profile and personally connecting with prospects. Even better, sharing social proof with video testimonials from your customers can power your engagement and boost your brand.

Video is shared up to20x more than other content on the platform.

How to create a confident and skilled social selling workforce?

Effective social selling requires instilling a culture of social selling in your business. Even if your employees and sales team are experienced, social media users, social media for social selling requires a new set of skills and awareness. 

This may require hands-on coaching of your entire sales team. Using a blend of training and coaching can better equip your team with the right skills. Social selling coaches also help build a deeper level of learning through accountability and goal setting.  

Coaches also help your staff learn in ways that suit them, not just through bland materials. They also act to embed change and driving acceptance, and advocate for the new working way.

Having dedicated social selling workshops to educate and empower you and your business will help ensure you don’t fall into any traps or put off potential customers. 

By investing in social selling, you will keep your business flexible, innovative and connect with those buyers who will make a difference to your business growth.

Ready to start social selling? 

Conclusion

Social selling techniques can help you dramatically improve your sales engine and pipeline. 

Remember to focus on establishing a strong brand with plenty of rich content. Finding the right people to target. Above all, build strong relationships with people by connecting regularly and communicating with your prospects. You can’t fake this, so make sure you have a strategy in place to engage. 

Mastering these social selling techniques and social selling tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator will deliver you results. 

Hopefully, this article has given you a taster of what social selling can do for your business. 

If you are looking to run a social selling structured programme to empower your employees or want some 1:1 coaching, you can get in touch with me on +44 (0) 7512 685 946.

Have you started social selling? I’d love to hear how you’ve found it or questions you might have about how it might work for your business.

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