October 6, 2015

Why the buzz about social selling? Because it works

It figures. Once you have a phenomenon such as social media take hold in a significant way, it’s only natural: The marketplace and particularly salespeople will use it to advantage. Now, social networks have become fundamental to the success of sales organizations in the United States. The ability to transform a cold call into a warm introduction is the big attraction.

Still, the term “social selling” is fairly new, and while the practice has been accelerating rapidly in just the last two years, you may want to know the precise definition of the term.

According to LinkedIn, the B2B social network, “Social selling is about leveraging your professional social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships and, ultimately, achieve your sales goals. This sales technique enables better sales-lead generation and sales prospecting process and eliminates the need for cold calling. Building and maintaining relationships is easier within the network that you and your customer trust.”

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Wikipedia has this to add: “While social selling is sometimes confused with social marketing, there are two key differences. First, social selling is focused on sales professionals, rather than marketing professionals. Second, social selling aims to cultivate one-on-one relationships, rather than broadcast one-to-many messages.”


For more information

Here are some valuable resources to study social selling and become a master at it:

 SalesforLife.com

 LinkedIn has a wealth of information in the form of slide decks, ebooks and curated tips.

 Jill Rowley

And, for a local expert who’s made it big in the world of social selling and social media, there is our own Viveka von Rosen, the LinkedIn Expert who authored the detailed how-to book “LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day.” (which she says actually is 40 minutes longer than you really need!)


Companies now encourage salespeople to be on the Internet, mine for leads online and ramp up their “personal brand” by enhancing their profiles on platforms such as LinkedIn. That’s a far cry from when the Internet was locked down during the workday!

Yes, but back then, in the Internet’s early days, there was little direct access to information and buyers relied solely on salespeople to make their buying decisions. Not anymore. Today’s salesperson must interact online and be a big part of what’s come to be called “the buyer’s journey.”

Indeed, companies now actively work to widen the footprint of the business in social media. They teach their salespeople how to create searchable and impressive personal profiles, provide optimized boilerplates for the current employer description, and provide a short routine to follow to obtain business leads in a whole new way – via social selling.

That routine is not about selling per se, however. It’s about building relationships. Salespeople work to find their business prospects online (this is by and large a B2B play, not B2C) and then forge a long-lasting bond with them. They actively learn about the prospect “in real life.” They get alerts to discover when they’ve won a promotion, published an article, taken a vacation. Then they ‘woo’ their prospects in that closed social environment. They might congratulate the prospect on an impressive accomplishment. They might forward an article that’s the perfect answer to the challenge he or she is facing this month. They ingratiate themselves, gradually.

It’s also critical for the salesperson to provide value when he or she is active on a social platform. The salesperson shouldn’t be mercenary here. Far from it! The ones who succeed big time in social selling are content creators and sharers. They go all in on providing practical solutions for their customers’ problems, demonstrating – right there in front of the industry – expertise and a positive personality. By sharing useful how-tos or writing insightful case studies, the savvy salesperson is soon seen as a “go to” business advisor.

From there, it’s not that far at all to the request for proposal. The salesperson has become a trusted resource.

Clearly, it’s time to get going on social selling. Carve out 20 minutes a day, that’s all! See who is on LinkedIn at the companies you’d really love to do business with. Then go to their profiles and see what you have in common. Say hello. Send them a useful tip you learned last week. And then watch the sales magic start happening. Slowly, but surely.

Laurie Macomber, owner of Fort Collins-based Blue Skies Marketing, can be reached t 970-689-3000.

It figures. Once you have a phenomenon such as social media take hold in a significant way, it’s only natural: The marketplace and particularly salespeople will use it to advantage. Now, social networks have become fundamental to the success of sales organizations in the United States. The ability to transform a cold call into a warm introduction is the big attraction.

Still, the term “social selling” is fairly new, and while the practice has been accelerating rapidly in just the last two years, you may want to know the precise definition of the term.

According…

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