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What is Social Selling and How to Approach It the Right Way

If  you  haven’t incorporated social selling into your funnel, you are probably losing clients to your more up-to-date business competitors.

Pandemic or not, the “good” old face-to-face selling has died out. All the action has moved onto social media and is there to stay.

The entire concept of social selling lies not only in shifting the sales process from an offline to an online setting but especially in building meaningful relationships with your customers in every stage of their buyer’s journey. Good buy hard closing tactics and welcome nurturing leads on an ongoing basis!

However, since we’ve been kind of abruptly forced to move our sales efforts online, not everyone  has  adapted to the new ways of doing it. That’s why, in this article, we’ll dive into the world of social selling and share the key facts any aspiring social seller should know.

What Is Social Selling?

Social selling is the process of targeting, connecting and interacting with your leads on social media platforms.

It implies different activities such as commenting on other people’s posts, resharing their content, giving valuable insights, providing value with everything you publish, etc. in addition to a specific way of communicating and nurturing a potential client from the stage of awareness to consideration to a moment in which a prospect is ready to purchase.

The goal of engaging with your customers on so many levels, from the social media’s feed to  private  messaging, is to understand their main pain point or room for improvement and estimate if your product or service can truly help them out. Nothing too salesy, nothing too pushy, just the genuine belief that you can help scale up their business.

LinkedIn: A Place To Be For Social Selling

We’ve already mentioned that social selling can happen on any social media platform. However, some are more appointed than the others, such as LinkedIn.

With over 800 million members in more than 200 countries, out of which over 60 million decision-makers, is  officially the world’s largest professional network and an absolute place-to-be when it comes to social selling.

Not only is it trendy enough to find anyone you need, but the platform itself has rules and features adjusted to business people who understand the importance of networking and – social selling.

That’s why, LinkedIn developed the first-of-its-kind social selling measurement, the Social Selling Index, and in their internal study, found a strong correlation between an SSI and achieving sales goals. According to the platform itself, sales reps with higher Social Selling Index:

  • Have more sales opportunities (45%)
  • Are more likely to hit sales quota (51%)
  • Outsell peers who don’t use social media (78%).

However, not all LinkedIn users know about these metrics (and not everyone believes in them) despite being available to each member. Rumor has it that LinkedIn users with higher SSI have certain hidden benefits, such as appearing in the search results more often, for example.

To check yours, navigate to https://www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi in your browser.

LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index

Whether you find LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index a valuable parameter or vanity metric, its 4 pillars depict well what social selling consists of. More importantly, they are all equally valued and interrelated and represent an excellent base for further social selling activities.

Pillar #1: Establish your professional brand

Building a strong brand around your name is the number one condition for people to trust you. In today’s world, where there are so many options to choose from, B2B buyers are selective and work with vendors who have a reputation of being reliable. Also, they don’t want to chat over company pages on LinkedIn anymore but build relationships with real people who work in them.

When it comes to LinkedIn, your personal brand starts with a neat and professional profile. There is no need to wow anyone with it, just make sure it’s up-to-date and that it provides relevant business and career information.

This includes:

  • A professional profile and cover pictures
  • A headline that sums up what you bring to the table
  • A summary that underlines your fortes and professional achievements
  • Career highlights
  • (Optional, but good to have) Recommendations from people you worked with

Pillar #2: Focus on the right prospects

Adding people randomly on LinkedIn never ends up well. The platform is created to help build meaningful business relationships where any kind of spamming or what’s considered to be an irrelevant intent to network can lead to a restriction.

In any case, for the purpose of social selling, surround yourself with potential clients and people who might show interest in the type of products and services you are offering. LinkedIn thought this through and gave us many ways to get to our “ideal” lead.

You can:

  • Target attendees of a LinkedIn event that is relevant to your branch
  • Join LinkedIn groups of your interest and connect with other members
  • Approach members who reacted or commented on a certain LinkedIn post
  • Reach out to mutual connections (even better: ask to be introduced) or to people you’ve met in person
  • Use Sales Navigator’s advanced search to narrow down your results to exactly who you want to talk to.

Pillar #3: Engage with insights

Establishing yourself as a thought-leader in the industry is the best move you can make. Over 60% of B2B buyers respond to salespersons that share relevant content, comment on other people’s posts, and encourage constructive criticism. Also, these users come up in the search results more often and get more exposure in comparison to inactive users.

Aside from the above benefits, you will surround yourself with like-minded people, members from the same or adjacent industries, and, most importantly, with your potential buyers. Once you’ve established yourself as someone who knows what they’re doing, just reaching out to your “ideal” customer will be enough to attract attention and dive into the process of lead nurturing.

Pillar #4: Build trusted relationships

We wish we could tell you how to be a good social seller.

The truth is, just like with any other skill, to master the art of social selling you’ll need practice, patience, and a genuine belief that your product or service can change someone’s way of doing business for the better.

No more selling right off the bat, hard closings, and spray-and-pray targeting techniques.

Start approaching people with a valid reason. Instead of talking about yourself, show genuine curiosity about their career path. Ask business-related questions, and if you see they don’t want to open up, know when to stop.

Share your insights, success stories, give feedback, etc. Be generous. The only way to provide value is to unconditionally share something you’ve learned from your own experience, so others can learn from you.

Introduce your connections if you believe that they have something in common or that their businesses could benefit from one another. Not only is it a good thing to do, but your connections are also more likely to return the favor.

Make sure you set some time to answer your messages. Just like emails, it doesn’t look good if they just sit there and never get a reply. Therefore, be responsive in a timely manner.

Long story short, stay pleasant, even when you realize that you might not be speaking to your potential buyer. It’s a small world out there, and you don’t want to make yourself a bad reputation.

To Sum Up

For someone who’s used to standing in front of people making a full presentation of their product right there, and getting the answer on the spot, social selling might seem like too much effort.

However, just like in real life, it is so much easier to close the deal with someone you already know, you connected before, or to whom you came as recommended, right?

Social selling is that. Building strong and meaningful relationships and using social media as a medium. Every time you think that coming up with a game plan and mindful copy for your messages might seem stressful, remember the times that you

had to travel miles to maybe get to talk to a decision-maker or spend days trying to reach out to someone.

All of this is now available to you from the comfort of your home (office).

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