Social savvy reps are outperforming you every quarter. In fact, 78 percent of salespeople that use social media to sell outperform their peers. In order to be in that winning segment of salespeople, you need to understand that social selling isn’t just about using social media, it’s about connecting with your customers in the best way possible.
How many of us have gone above and beyond to “mimic the customer?” We do everything we can to be as relatable and easy to connect with as possible. Yet, your customers—and the people who influence them—ARE using social media. If you’re not, they won’t be your customers for much longer. If you don’t believe your prospects are on social, do yourself a favor and search LinkedIn, Twitter, or even Instagram for your customers, their companies, and your competitors. I’ll bet you find something. Now search yourself and your own company. What do you find?
Customers are social
You’ll find your customers are already using social media to communicate with you. Now, you need to evaluate how you connect with them. How many of you would like to have a conversation with someone via fax? You laugh… But that’s exactly what’s happening with email today. Most decision makers receive over 80 emails a day. You won’t stand out by being number 81. You will by taking the time to get to know your customer and engage with them on topics they find interesting.
Social media is the new front door and just like people pay to practice their handshake so too should you work on your online presence because it’s your digital handshake. In a world that’s connected via the internet, most of us sell to people we’ll never meet in-person. Our digital presence becomes the only side of each other we’ll ever know.
As sales reps we are trained to “sell not tell.” Instead of just telling our customers what we can provide, we should instead understand their needs and see how we can help. Sadly, many of us forget the reasoning behind this maxim. We forget that customers want to buy from a real person they can relate to and trust. If customers bought only from logos, we’d all be out of jobs.
Sales is a profession where hearing “no” and failing every day isn’t the end result but a prerequisite to getting the job done. Yet, there are still so many people that struggle to embrace new techniques proven to help them achieve more. We are the inventors and masters of the cold call yet we cower at the thought of Tweeting.
Never forget the first word of social media. There are lots of attractive shortcuts out there that might seem to help. Automation is a particularly popular poison. You’d never let a robot write and send emails to all your top prospects, so don’t let one manage your social presence. Customers will see through it and instead of getting to know you, they’ll get annoyed you pawned them off to an algorithm. That’s not even considering the damage that inappropriate or embarrassing posts can cause your company—and your career.
The first step for sales reps is to make sure they “look the part”—use social media to stand out from the crowd. When writing your bio, I recommend including two points about your work and how you can help your customers and another three points on what makes you unique. The way you share content and engage with others should also follow this pattern. While sharing posts that your audience will find helpful, also remember to add in your personality to help connect with people.
If you always remember to be yourself then good things will happen. You’ll see prospects connect with you and customers engage with you. You’ll pick up on key insights you would’ve otherwise missed and—more importantly—close more business deals by developing better relationships.
The best sales people sell relationships, not products, so as you work on building relationships online, you need to think about the value that relationship provides your prospects. Would you really read what you shared? Would you respond to that message if someone sent it to you? Be honest with yourself.
There are a number of ways you can be helpful to your customers. One easy way to get started is by using Twitter Lists. Instead of listening to everything on Twitter 24/7, you can select to keep an eye on only your top prospects and customers. Now, you can engage when you see your contacts post something interesting, whether it be an interesting article, a phrases like “anyone know” or a mention of a competitor. By monitoring for these types of signals you can engage at the right time and with the right message.
Connect with customers
By being yourself and adding value online, your digital handshake will be among the best in the business. As you engage with your contacts and get to know them as a person and not just someone with business goals, not only will you understand them better but they will be closer to you.
At the end of the day that’s what social selling is all about—connecting with your customers the best way possible to build real relationships.
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