How to Boost Your Sales Numbers with Social Selling
One of the hallmarks of a good salesperson is the ability to adapt to your surroundings. With unprecedented disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, social media, already a mainstay of the professional landscape, has exploded in relevance when it comes to social selling and building relationships. With business and in many ways life itself, being conducted entirely online, it’s imperative to understand the best-practices of social selling, which will allow you to hit your targets.
While some principles of the art of selling have remained the same since time immemorial, it’s important to make sure that you know how to equip yourself to succeed in the digital world, particularly with the latest tool in the seller’s arsenal: the social media profile.
What is social selling?
Social media selling has become one of the most effective ways for salespeople to generate new B2B leads and engage with prospective clients. While there are several platforms that can be used for selling, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each, and focus your attention accordingly. Twitter is excellent for generating engagement and sharing content but isn’t the best platform for connecting with prospects. Snapchat for business might be good for certain e-commerce products, but it is definitely not a strong solution.
A platform like LinkedIn, on the other hand, might not have the sheer quantity as users, but offers several ways to build relationships and is explicitly geared towards professional networking. This should be the place where you start your social media journey;adding other platforms to your strategy should follow after you’ve mastered the art of presenting yourself on this core website.
The true power of social selling lies in the opportunity it provides for sales representatives to immediately provide value to their customers by answering questions, sharing relevant content, and create engagements around industry trends. LinkedIn provides a space where this is the sole focus of the conversations you will find yourself in, and creates a space where it is easy to hone your social selling skills.
How to optimize your profile for social selling
The first step to turning your presence on the internet into tangible leads and sales is through having a well-optimized and effective profile. This is similar to having your own little digital storefront where you can have the opportunity to project a brand of who you are and what you can do for the rest of the world.
The most effective start for this is to develop an understanding of who, precisely, should view your profile. Take a minute to draw up a list of the things they might want to see; what questions do they need answered? What fears do they need to have addressed? What needs do you, as a salesperson, have to meet?
This profile of a content marketing leader is clearly geared towards engagement with the relevant content and posts. While not a salesperson, she demonstrates the core principles of building a profile with your audience in mind.
The answer to these questions will vary from person to person, yet will determine the shape and content of the other suggestions contained within this article.
Communicate your value
The first thing you want to do when starting to craft your profile is to think critically about the language you’re using to describe yourself and what you can do.
Using the ‘About’ section of your profile can be a great place to show exactly what you can do for a prospect.
A lot of people think this is an opportunity to talk about themselves and what they can do. While these are things you need to communicate, doing so in a self-centered way will be a major turnoff to prospects. AJ Alonzo, Founder of SDRevolution, says:
“The #1 thing about selling on LinkedIn is to focus on the prospect – while building out your profile and crafting the message. When you drone on about yourself and use a lot of “I,” “we,” “our” language, it doesn’t capture your prospect’s attention. Similarly, if you build your profile in the same vein it won’t immediately reveal to your prospects HOW you can help them.”
Establish your niche
Covid-19 has made it so that the digital marketplace is more crowded than ever before. When it comes to making a sale in formal professional network spaces of LinkedIn and similar platforms, it’s important that your profile jumps out and is immediately more engaging than its peers. While it might seem tempting to try and cast as wide a net as you possibly can, that isn’t what will ultimately lead to your success. That’s the job of marketers. Instead, remember that you’re building your brand as a salesperson with specific expertise that will help a certain league ofclients.
The Jonathan Aufrey, CEO of Growth Hackers discussed how important it is to differentiate yourself online, first by following general best practices but then through a follow up of meaningful engagement that will build real relationships.
“LinkedIn is a great platform to connect with people, build your personal brand, generate leads, and make sales, especially for B2B. But, there are many B2B marketers and salespeople on LinkedIn so you want to differentiate yourself. You don’t want to connect with hundreds of people and send an automated sales message. What you want is to build a strong personal profile with the basics: professional picture, enticing summary, professional experiences, skills, etc. Then, you want to start curating and creating content while engaging with content from people in your industry. You can also connect with them and chat with them to build real relationships. Ask about their life, their business, their problems, and so on. Once you’ve built trust, if you have a solution to their problem, only then you can start selling.”
In some ways, this might seem counter intuitive to the normal methods employed in face-to-face selling. However, it is merely tapping into what underpins all strong client-consumer relationships: a trusting relationship.
Don’t forget to use a CRM software to help you track the leads you get through your profile. Having the right tools for the job is always key, and a CRM will help you and your team stay on target to hit your monthly goals and expend your energy in more strategic ways.
After you’ve started to build your following, the next thing to do is to develop it through engaging posts and content. Once you’ve discovered the digital niche where you can make the biggest impact, the next step is actually making that impact. According to Patrick Downs, Sales Enablement and Training Manager at PandaDoc:
“Reps have seconds to hook their followers. I suggest starting your LinkedIn posts with an abbreviated style of writing, preferably a topic that is controversial and encourages followers to anxiously click “see more”. Opt to share insights over orders. Opinions beget more opinions, so be prepared to see your engagement skyrocket with this type of content. Identify the themes in your copy and when in doubt, add one. Focus on tagging relevant people in your posts who have the ability to widen your audience and engage with your post, like other reps you admire or leaders in the industry. Don’t forget to reply to comments. It’ll make your current base of followers feel heard.”
This post by Patrick Downs highlights the type of language that can be used to ‘hook’ a prospect.
Not only do you need to be posting relevant content, you need to make sure the links to that content is going to be clicked on by the people who see it on their timeline. A few tricks can turn a bland post into something truly captivating.
New audiences await
No matter if you’re into SaaS or a PaaS or an IaaS, it’s imperative that you find the proper way to cultivate relationships with your target audience.
Make sure to be thorough when it comes to building out your profile, engaging with your followers, track your performance with a sales performance management tool and you’ll have a thriving sales pipeline to help mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on your business through your LinkedIn account in no time!
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