Customers are putting up barriers around traditional communications channels. In their personal and professional lives, fewer and fewer customers answer their phones or open (much less respond to) emails. Consumers are now trained to ignore pop-up and banner ads, and to quickly sniff out content that smells promotional.
So more sales people are looking to communicate with prospects and customers in the places where they hang out – social media. This type of selling is referred to as social selling. But it is not simply cold calling via Facebook versus telephone. People have different behaviors and expectations in their personal / professional social networks.
Here are a few guidelines to help you be effective with social selling:
- Don’t Sell. As crazy as that may sound, you should not “sell” in social selling. Here you never push product or bombard leads with promotional messages. The rule of thumb is to only talk about your products and services no more than 20% of the time – even then, make it informational and helpful.
- Listen more than speak. The biggest value of social selling is that you can really get to know your prospect: his work, hobbies, background and personality. Don’t talk about yourself all the time but instead listen carefully for what is of value to be there at the right time / right place.
- Be a trusted advisor. In your sales role you have real knowledge and expertise in your industry. Share that knowledge to gradually gain the trust of others. Be authentic and honest, always looking for the win/win.
- Be consistent. Social selling is a long “drip” process of nurturing prospects. Since everyone is in and out of networks depending on their schedules, it is important to incorporate social into your daily activity, and post helpful information regularly.
- Be positive and never nasty. Somehow negative comments, even humorous satire, can come off badly in written form. Think twice – especially when responding to a complaint.
Are you using social selling?