What Is Social Selling and Where Do I Start?
Don't let the hype about B-to-B social selling deceive you. Buyers have not reinvented the buying process. It has simply become a non-linear one. What is new are the sexy tools. However, using LinkedIn, Google+, blogging and YouTube effectively when prospecting isn't sexy. It's just a better process.
Is social selling a revolution? No, it's merely a chance for sales prospecting EVO-lution.
So let's roll up our sleeves and discover: What is social selling and how are sellers generating more leads, faster? What is the process your sales team should be applying?
Social Selling Is a System
Let's grip the wheel, firmly. Revolutions bring about change that make things easier or better. Has social media made your life easier lately? Are you getting more leads and closing them faster?
I rest my case!
Effective social selling is a system. Systems are not sexy.
A system is a repeatable process with a predictable outcome. Input goes in, certain things happen and out pops a result.
Social Prospecting: New but not Complex
The prospecting piece of social selling is mostly about:
- Getting buyers to respond and qualify faster, more often, and
- Turning response into dialogue that leads to a sale—faster, more easily
If anything is new about this process it's the role direct response marketing techniques play. For example, social media copywriting is catching on.
The process today's best social sellers are using generates leads faster by helping customers:
- believe there is a better way (via short-form social content)
- realize they just found part of it (using longer-form content) and
- act—taking a first step toward what they want (giving you a lead)
Engagement and Trust Are not the Goals
Will you agree with me that engagement is not your sellers' goal? Engagement is the beginning of a process. It's a chance for front line reps and dealers to create response—and deeper conversation about a transaction.
If not, engagement is a chronic waste of your reps' and dealers' time.
I know "experts" insist that being trusted is a strategy. But it's not.
It is the output of a successful prospecting strategy!
Increased trust is a sign your sellers are applying the process effectively. It's not a goal!
As a small B-to-B business owner myself, I know what gets you paid. It's not engagement. It's not your image or personal brand.
You or your boss measures performance based on leads.
So let's keep your social prospecting approach practical: Attention, engagement and a simple, repeatable way to create response more often. These are the components of an effective social selling system.
Why You Don't Need a Social Selling Strategy
"What's your social selling strategy?" I hear it all the time.
"You need one," the experts insist.
But I say no, in most cases. Here's why: Listen to what the experts say. Pay attention to what they say goes into a social selling strategy. Hint: It's nothing new!
Yet we keep hearing "experts" claim listening is a new idea—or how we must get trusted to earn the sale.
So I give you permission to fire your social selling consultant or sales person if this is the best they can do.
What's Your Telephone Strategy?
Not convinced? Consider how we don't have B-to-B telephone strategies for prospecting. We have systems, approaches to applying the tool effectively. What defines our success in tele-prospecting?
Listening to customers? Nope. That's the entry fee.
Trust? Nope. That's the outcome we desire.
Success when dialing-for-dollars is based on if your system works—or not.
"You didn't need a telephone strategy when the telephone was invented," says sales productivity coach Philippe le Baron of LB4G Consulting.
"You learned how to use the new tool ... to reach out to people you could never have dreamed of reaching ... and get a face-to-face meeting with the ones who qualified."
Today, tele-prospecting success has little to do with phone technology. It has everything to do with your telephone speaking technique—your conversational system.
Just the same, you don't need a social media strategy today. You need a practical, repeatable process to increase sellers' effectiveness (productivity) and make their output more predictable ... using social media platforms.
Systems work for you. You don't work for systems!
So don't let gurus trick you into feeling like a laggard. Don't let me catch you throwing money at sales trainers claiming buyers are fundamentally revolutionizing the way they buy. Focus on ways to:
- Get buyers to respond and qualify faster, more often, and
- Turn response into dialogue that leads to a sale—faster, more easily
Good luck. Let me know how I can help!