To make a sale, we go where our customers are. That hasn’t changed. But in this radically transformed digital environment, reaching customers needs a totally new approach: they’re on social media now.
A changed world means changed attitudes, from how we share information to how we communicate. There’s a whole different etiquette to it: selling is less direct and more social. There are tactics that won’t work, and tactics that do.
To sell with success on social media requires a radical change in perspective. Here are 6 ways to do it:
Countless sources compete for the same attention spans in this noisy digital arena. Social media is all about sharing information and opinions, and everyone is their own media channel. To become part of this process, take the “When in Rome” approach, and go after mindshare. On social media, you have the opportunity to gain a prospect’s attention — and keep it over a long period. That way, when they’re ready to make a purchase, you’re in their ‘buying set’ and get the lead.
2.Craft an identity.
On social media, we can find out all about each other and form opinions about each other just by looking around. For a salesperson, it’s crucial to create a compelling, appealing online identity. Does your profile make you sound like an authority? Are you linked to the right people? How are you conveying the ethos and purpose behind what you do? Then, you have to manage that reputation and monitor what information is out there about you.
But people can find out nearly anything they need to without the help of a salesperson — and, in fact, that’s what they prefer. Blatant marketing messages cross a line into irritation on social media. What they can’t always get is insight: new information that alters someone’s perspective. Especially in B2B sales, that ‘Aha’ moment has incredible value for potential customers.
4.Learn to share.
Social media is all about people, and the most effective form of online communication is social sharing. You reach far more people and have far more credibility if others share your communications. So make your customer the hero. Make your message about them, not you. The more your messaging is about them, the more likely it will resonate with them — and they will share that with friends and colleagues.
5.Tell a great story.
Great content is the bottom line, digital or not. You won’t get people’s attention on social media without it. Team up with marketing to create the visuals and multimedia — photos, video, infographics, memes — that tell a powerful story. Get the narrative right: what’s the story you tell as a salesperson, and how does it lead back to your offer? Is the emotional value proposition clear? If you can, commission content from clients, prospects and industry experts. It’s always effective in this social sharing arena when others vouch for what you offer.
6.Take your pulse.
There are countless tools for taking your pulse, and part of the digital environment is using software and apps that do it — and do it all the time. This is a fluid world, where yesterday’s meme is forgotten today, and the attention you got last week may trickle to nothing tomorrow. Measure your progress by asking the right questions: Who is paying attention. Are they the right people? What content is working? What content is being shared? What percentage of engaged prospects actually turns into a lead? The more you do it, the better you’ll get.
Social media is an environment you must participate in, but you’re not in it alone. The digital arena is filled with your colleagues, customers, potential prospects, and industry experts who already have the attention of the audience. Leverage your connections to them, and you’ll see your own audience grow. But do it by sharing, exchanging guest blog posts, collaborating on an interview, for instance. In this new world, if you want someone to scratch your back, make sure you scratch theirs.