Social Selling and Building Relationships Online

When I started in sales, I had to visit 8 clients physically, every single day. No jokes! In our wildest dreams we could not have imagined a tool like email, never mind social media.

Social media has created so many incredible opportunities for us, and it is about time that we took that seriously. We need to consistently find high-quality leads, of course, I am stating the obvious here - but on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and others, they are there in their millions, trust me.

Actually, you do not have to trust me, just look at the research! According to a recent study conducted by LinkedIn - 72% of buyers use social media to research solutions for purchase.

Seventy-two percent. That is not a number you can or should ignore.

Fact is… cold calls are a thing of the past

We have to face it. Cold emails and cold calls are today's sales equivalent of trying to use a sledgehammer to fix a computer. Not only are they outmoded, they simply do not work, and most of the time will cause more harm than good.

According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business School, the average executive is receiving 30,000 pieces of external communication per year. Well actually, that was the number in 2010. We can only imagine what that number is in 2020, right?

There can be no doubt that today's buyers are flooded with random and often irrelevant, pushy requests all the time. Prospects get annoyed, we get frustrated, and opportunities fall through the cracks. If we do not hit our numbers, everybody loses.

So why would we move to social selling? Well, here your buyers are choosing to engage with you and instead of an unwelcome or intrusive and poorly timed call, they get relevant, engaging, and informative information that they can choose to consume in their own time.

This is an opportunity to engage meaningfully with your existing networks on digital channels, in the time that best suits them. This allows us to attract the right prospects and to cultivate our trusted relationships.

You can make yourself visible without being intrusive, and, when the time is right, your potential customers know where to find you.

In the process, you get to:

  • Define your reputation
  • Gain visibility in the market and amongst your existing customers (big win!)
  • Create and cultivate meaningful relationships
  • Deliver value to your target market and audience and to establish your credibility.
  • Help shape their buying criteria before your first engagement (a huge win in my opinion)
  • Stay top of mind, sometimes getting the opportunity is really about the right timing – make sure you do not miss that
  • Attract the right clients

This is kind of precision and direct access that we could have only dreamt about when I began with sales in 1999!

What Social Selling is NOT

Every week I get questions about why some social selling efforts may seem to be failing, so, let us discuss what social media is NOT.

Social selling is not a short-term tactic to get a deal immediately. It is also not an opportunity to schmooze and self-promote, and it is definitely not an opportunity for us to harass our clients, or to be pushy and prioritize our own agenda.

Social selling is the practice of showing up on social media with information that is relevant and informative to our audience.

You cannot just show up and ‘throw up’ you do need to ensure that there is substance to your content, that you have structured it well and delivered in your own style instead of a canned pitch.

It is not canned. And it is not spam. Its customised, considerate, and personable.

How do I Build Relationships in an online world?

When we become more sophisticated in our approach we can then also become more strategic in our engagements, consider that according to the CEB buying decisions now include up to 6.2 people, and that building relationships with individuals who are not only key decision-makers but influencers is vital –  I am sure you can see the opportunity here to layer strategic social selling engagement onto your existing account planning and influence mapping.

If you and your team would like help with this, that is what we do - so please do feel free to reach out to us anytime.

If you would like to know more about how you can get access to our 8 module Remote Selling School, which will offer you and your team a  structured approach to virtual sales success please indicate your early interest by reaching out to Chris on chris@salescounsel.co.za  who will be in touch with relevant information and let you know about our early bird offer.

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