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Shifting Into Social Selling | Part 2 – The Why of Social Selling

5 Reasons sale representatives need to use social media as a selling tool

In the first part of our Shifting into Social Selling series we outlined key tips and advice that will help set a strong foundation for sale representatives.

The 2nd part of the series will explain the reasonings behind social selling. We’ve gathered some of the most important tips and advice from Microsoft’s “Always Be Closing” guide and other sources to help you understand why it is so important to engage in social selling

Companies are using social media to expand their reach to millions of people but most are failing to use these site strategically for listening, prospecting, and closing sales. Sale representatives need to harness these sites and gain advantage, especially with LinkedIn.

Social selling isn’t just a fad, it’s evolving every day along with the new breakthroughs of digital and social communication. Here are  5 reasons why sales reps need to transform their sales process into a social one and why:

  1. “Buyers are 57% of the way through the buying cycle before they reach out to sales.” Buyers have easier access to information due to Internet search engines, blogs, social media, company websites, etc. All these things have made it easier for a buyer to do research, compare products and read reviews, which in return gives the buyer more control on their purchases. With this new power, buyers no longer need a sales rep to help them narrow down choices or provide information on a product.
  2. The last thing a buyer wants is to be hassled by a sales rep to buy something. While traditional selling through the email or in person still work, reaching out through a LinkedIn email is more effective. “Recipients are likely to respond to those outreaches 67% of the time.” Sale reps need to use social media as a tool to help them reach new prospects and build networks. While certain aspects of selling have changed, the foundation of it still remains very strong. Sale reps need to form relationships with their customers and build trust. The Aberdeen Group explains that social selling is the utilization of one of these techniques:
  1. Social Collaboration: Sharing information internally or with partners to pool knowledge on how to generate more leads and sales
  2. External Listening: the gathering and interpreting or content produced by clients and prospects
  3. External Participation: providing prospects with relevant and helpful content or information to build relationships and positively impact future buying decisions
  • It is very important to remember that social selling is about making connections, informing and helping, it’s not about making a sale. The sale comes after you have fostered that relationship and gained the buyer’s trust.
  • “Social selling was the #1 way for sales reps to generate their own leads in 2013” – Sales Benchmark Index, How To Make Your Number
  • In order to gain a buyer’s trust you have to know your industry like the back of your hand. Why? Because when you deliver information, insights into the industry and relevant content that will inform and influence a buyer through the buyer’s process, they will see you as partner and a valuable asset who is there to help. Sales reps that have had success in social selling become the thought leaders in social media because they are seen as experts and buyers are willing to trust them. It is extremely important to comprehend the buyer’s specific needs and concerns. Remember, you are not trying to sell to them, you want to give the buyer useful and relevant information.
  • So how should sale reps connect with buyers through social media? Below are some tips on how to get started with social selling:
    1. Monitor and engage with potential buyers on social media sites
    2. Use tools, content libraries and social publishing tools to stay on top of what is going on and to provide information or advice to prospective buyers
    3. When you connect with someone on a social media site, remember that it’s about building relationships. You also want to keep in mind that you want to connect with people who you think can end up becoming a buyer
    4. Research that person so you have an idea as to who they are and what they do, so when you connect with them you can give them some context as to why you want to become a connection.
    5. Make sure to offer advice and valuable insights, the more you give the more you will get

If you want to succeed in social selling it is very important to understand WHY you’re doing it in the first place. The next step is to learn HOW to engage with social selling techniques on LinkedIn, the biggest professional network in the world. In part 3 (coming soon) of our Shifting into Social Selling series, you’ll learn how to successfully create leads and connect with potential buyers on LinkedIn.

 

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