Have you heard of Social Selling? I am always thinking about how to improve the selling process to make it more effective and more comfortable. There may always be a bit of discomfort in the process—old ideas and habits die hard—but Social Selling might help to make things better.
According to Wikipedia, “Social selling is the process of developing relationships as part of the sales process. Today this often takes place via social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, but can take place either online or offline.”
Social Selling is tricky, though, because so many people want to jump on Facebook or Twitter and start selling immediately. I know because they do it to me all the time. The truth is, for most of us business owners that’s a big turnoff. I will unfriend you, unfollow you, and potentially say unkind things about you if you try that with me.
So if you can’t jump on social media and start selling me stuff right away, what is it good for? I read an interesting article on LinkedIn this afternoon called 5 Power Tips for Achieving Social Selling Success. In that article, five “social selling superstars” gave five suggestions on effective social selling. The ones I found most interesting and helpful are:
- Get in Early: buyers usually wait a long time before reaching out to a salesperson. If you reach out to them early, you can become a trusted resource and advisor. When it comes time to buy, you’ll already have a leg up on the salespeople late to the game.
- Engage Rather Than Sell: Don’t start selling right away. Educate them, help them to be informed so they can make a good buying decision. Then share something about you and your company. If you’ve established trust with them, they are much more likely to engage with you.
- Make It a Habit: This is the hardest part for me. I think about social selling fairly often, but disciplining myself to do it on a regular basis when there isn’t an immediate payoff can be discouraging. But if you want to be successful at social selling, making it a habit is crucial.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on social selling. Has it worked for you? Has it been a waste of time? What have you learned from the process?
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