“Does social selling really work ?”. An impossible question to answer.
Because the right question to ask isn’t if it works, but how it works.
I rely heavily on using social selling strategies in my own sales process. I use social media to research prospects, build relationships, establish my personal brand, connect with decision makers and promote my content.
And – in case you’re wondering – yes. I have achieved success with social selling. Leads. Proposals. Business.
The problem for most people isn’t that they don’t do it, or they don’t do enough of it. It’s that they focus on the wrong things. Tactics instead of strategies. Tools instead of process. Action instead of reflection.
And it’s easy to spend all day Tweeting, Linking and updating your Facebook page. Like everything in sales, the success of social selling relies heavily on having a clear strategy in place, executing every single day, measuring success and weeding out what doesn’t work (so you can do more of what does).
Personally, I use a three-part process that underpins all my social selling activities. It helps me avoid spending time on the wrong things, and stay focused on what I’m trying to accomplish. Make more sales. And achieve success with social selling.
A big part of what I do is simply listening to the conversation that’s going on around me. I’ll sign up for Linkedin groups, check leading blogs, send out surveys, … whatever it takes to develop a deep understanding of what my prospects care about, struggle with and desire. Listening deeply, asking follow-up questions to elicit clarification and developing an intimate understanding of what your prospect’s world looks like is the first step in social selling success.
Only when I have developed a deep understanding of what their world looks like do I start joining in on the conversation. Not by mass spamming, sending out salesy e-mails or reaching out with a boilerplate Linkedin message.
But by producing quality content that addresses my prospect’s needs, and delivers tangible, practical and (especially) actionable advice that helps them produce results. So they can get a first taste of what it would (could) be like to work with me. And get immediate, instant value.
This third step is huge – you see, it’s very easy to get caught up in the “how many RTs did I get today ?” craze. Spend time on people that engage with your content rather than people that can buy from you. It flatters the ego, and makes you feel like you accomplished something.
But it doesn’t produce results.
So be selective. Spend some time with those who engage with your content. Thank them. Ask questions. Help them promote their stuff.
But spend the majority of your time with those who engage with your content, and are likely to be decision makers.
That – in a nutshell – is how social selling works for me. But: how do you use social selling ? Can you directly attribute deals to your online presence ? Has it helped you close more deals in indirect ways ? Or do you feel like social selling is overhyped and doesn’t work ?