Avoiding the pitfalls of social selling
Selling is changing because buying has changed. We have entered a new era, where B2B buyers can instantly access information on your products and services, your competition, reviews and market price. To match this change in the buying landscape, another approach is needed. One that doesn’t make buyers feel like they are being pitched to; where the right kind of conversation captures their interest and relationships are built. In other words, social selling.
The advantages are clear. By taking ownership of your social sales strategy, you proactively engage with your prospects at every stage of their buying journey. Meeting customers online, enables you to initiate valuable interactions that can ultimately lead to sales conversions.
Social selling has great potential, but it is not all plain sailing and there are many things that can go wrong. So, to prepare yourself for "next generation selling", here are some "big DON'T DOs" you should make sure you avoid.
Although “sell” is embedded in social selling, it does not mean a “hard” sell via InMail or a cold pitch post. Instead, use LinkedIn to start a conversation with your potential buyer, interact with them around a shared topic of interest, share valuable information, simply respond to a question or start following them and their company page. By leveraging LinkedIn to gain insight into your prospect and where their interests lie, you will seem more credible and knowledgeable when you reach out.
Focus on connecting with your buyer, skilfully surrounding them with your “presence” and building a relationship, so that you become a person they feel that they know and like. By doing so, you are more likely to gain their trust and succeed.
Posting just for the sake of posting, reposting or sharing are absolute no-no’s! No matter how interesting you find an article personally, make good choices about what to share by sticking to your topics of expertise. Sharing content on too many unrelated subjects will water down your expertise and simply confuse your network. If you aren’t careful, you could even end up only being seen as a good source of information on diverse topics and miss being identified as an expert. Also, keep in mind that it isn’t your company website, so only posting information related to you or your company will seem selfish and too upfront. The key is not to only talk about how smart you are; it is about selectively and smartly sharing other people’s “smartness” with a personal touch. Adding an uncommon perspective to a common situation works for instance very well.
Also be careful about how much you post. Ask yourself beforehand, whether the information supports your sales efforts or whether it confuses your target audience and possibly negatively impacts the reputation you are trying to build. People can be easily and quickly overwhelmed and might block you. Rather than establishing a shallow presence everywhere, concentrate on cultivating a deep following on a few social platforms—or even just one. Establish yourself where most of your prospects are and where you’ll get the “best bang for your buck”.
By sending very targeted and highly personalized InMails, viewing profiles and engaging with others, you’ll generate more traffic and increase your profile views. However, an uninteresting, profile will not get you anywhere. As a sales expert, you shouldn’t view your LinkedIn profile as a place to park your online CV. Instead think of it as the valuable Sales and Marketing tool it is with great potential and loads of free advertising. That’s why it’s really important before beginning your “journey” to brainstorm on how you want to "brand" yourself. Also keep your profile dynamic by adding rich media content that people can click through— a good balance of text, pictures and videos. Videos especially get lots of visibility.
Some people will tell you that they only connect with people they really know. However, being too picky about whom you accept in your network is not a good plan and will limit your social selling success. All those in your network can see your everyday activity, like it and share it. So, you actually never know who might get to see it and what might come from a connection. You should welcome any person that sends you a contact request and only limit those who you really feel could damage your image in some way. Also don’t shy away from connecting with someone who might be useful in the future, and be bold enough to ask for skill endorsements or recommendations because they’re great for helping to expand your reach.
If you leverage the power of social selling, you can open the doors and win new prospects in a way that you can’t with traditional sales tactics. Creating a strong brand for yourself on social platforms will help you capture the attention and build relationships with influencers and decision-makers. By doing this, you’ll soon see how the right leads will lead you to the right sales and more success.
"Contact the people who liked or commented on your content quickly. My colleague landed one of his largest contracts because he immediately wrote to a person who liked one of the articles he shared."
Cristina Chis, Consultant
"Ask recommendations from your clients whenever possible. As a sales person, your best sales pitch are happy clients. Ask them to write a recommendation directly on your profile."
Agnes Galambos, Partner
"Make an analysis of the people who showed interest in your content to sharpen the focus."
Alejandro Almorena, Consultant
"Don't like everything and don't forget that everyone in your network can see what you like."
Arzu Grützner, Consultant
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