Social Selling – a new standard?
Timing is everything? To be in the right place at the right time with the right person often determines the success of a deal. Closing a deal is easier when your product or service is in demand. Under these conditions anyone can sell. Every sale is easy then. Salesman’s talent, psychological strategy tactics or personalizing the offer is no longer necessary. Social Selling guarantees that such circumstances don’t need to be a matter of sheer luck.
Social Selling is, simply speaking, communication with the help of social media – extending the sales potential through social networks. That’s the theory, but what about the practice? How do you proceed, what is essential, and how to reach customers?
Xing, Facebook, LinkedIn & Co. are the standard and most popular social media channels. Sales Managers use them to promote their products and services, and for a good reason: two-thirds of all buyers gather information online about products and services before they contact a salesperson. They read reviews and comments, browse forums, articles, comparison tests and ask questions, and participate in discussions with other users. This iis why successful companies, implement their own Social Selling procedures. Where is the best place to begin?
Expert image is the basic foundation for contacting the customer. Such an image increases the chance for credibility and winning the customer’s trust. Remember that professionally does not necessarily mean seriously, but well prepared and well adapted communicatively to the needs of respective target group. For example, an IT company has other needs and problems than a FMCG company.
To create a meaningful expert profile, first of all, everything from profile photo to experience and skills description should be completed and included. Particularly interesting and useful information for the customer should be emphasized. Success stories should not be missing, highlighted by examples. In addition, you should keep in mind that this information should be presented in the context of the company’s most important services and products. This statement is confirmed by statistics: 81% of buyers purchase is possible if there is strong and expert brand, and 91% of B2B buyers will be drawn to a vendor who already has a name in the industry.
The right audience
Most social network portals have their own search engines that help to find the right audience. It is primarily not about the quantity, but targeting the right audience. People not interested by a product or service may quickly feel harassed. This is the feeling we do not want to see in potential customers. The aim of the campaign is to find those who are potentially interested in the product.
Search tools help to find the right audience. They help identify and find specific target groups and contact persons. The search can be set in a number of ways, and the results filtered accordingly. This mechanism makes it easy to build relationships with specific customers, and gain access to them. Defining common interests of your audience turns out to be useful in establishing relationships. Professional and industry groups are well suited for this purpose. What is posted in the groups should be analyzed in order to find out about difficulties and problems, and what is currently important to your potential audience. You can thus get to know your customers better.
Here you also get a chance to offer a solution in the form of your product or service. The aim is to attract customers. Post solution-oriented content (articles, blogs, experiences) is important, as well as taking active part in discussions. Then the customer will notice you. Activities attracts visitors to your profile. Salespeople increase their sales quota to 39% with Social Selling and retain customers for good. This leads to a sustained increase in customer numbers up to 45%.
Once the needs of your target clients are clarified and analyzed, the focus should be on meeting them in the form of provided content. The content should be interesting enough for the community to share and discuss. It is recommended to actively stimulate discussion and to promote exchange of views. This, in turn, generates traffic and create a lively company profile. After the stage of conducting this type of activity, you can finally encourage the public to visit your own homepage. It turns out that up to 35% more page views could be generated by such a strategy.
Posting appealing content is a way to gain new leads and, consequently, new customers. Posting content containing thoughtful and constructive comments about your customers problems will make them feel understood. For 64% of B2B buyers it is important that the salesperson understands their business and has sound knowledge of it.
Studies show that 73% of B2B buyers prefer to buy from a seller who was recommended to them and 87% of B2B buyers automatically presume salesman’s competence if he was introduced to them by someone from their professional environment. A large network offers greater opportunities and more access to potential customers and partners. Concentrate on senior-level players and build relationships. On average, 5.4-players are involved in purchasing decisions. Therefore, do not focus only on one.
Regular contact is important for you and your offer will not be forgotten. After you connect to a customer, act like it was a long-time friendship and contact him with content that has relevance to him, ideally with your own content. New contacts can be found among other professional or industry groups and among recommendations. An active Social Seller closely observes changes in their network because the nature of change can also generate new leads.
If the customer exchange in social networks works well and you get a positive feedback, you can look around in forums and on other platforms. Ask “Google Alert” to observe what is said about you or your product or brand. Observe your competitors. Note what is new, at what they are working on, what are their next projects and what customers say about them. Note are their weaknesses and their strengths. Social Media and is an excellent tool for that kind of analysis.
Social Selling always involves the risk of public review, sharp criticism statement and an open discourse. See it positive. You can powerful put things and in case of justified criticisms you can show humanity – that will brings sympathy. Not everyone can like you and your product, but with professional behaviour and creative answers is criticism no longer a threat, but also an instrument for more traffic.
Article was written by Nadja Parfenov, Sales Asistant at Apollogic.
- On 08/09/2016