There is lots of talk about social selling but what exactly is it? Social selling is the method of establishing and developing relationships as part of the sales process. Today this often takes place via social media networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, but can take place either online or offline.

But why should you be using these various platforms? What opportunities are they providing for sales professionals?

One of the great things about social media is that buyers are far more open about their intentions than in the pre-social age. They can comment on forums, ask their followers on Twitter and update their status on LinkedIn.

Of course, to gain opportunities this way, you will need to already be listening to your prospects.

Metrics and KPIs

Social selling is all about discovering people who may eventually be interested in what you’re selling – then making yourself useful to them.

As Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said, “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people.”

Social media can benefit businesses in a range of ways, not just in marketing and communications. It has been discovered that the most effective way to measure the impact and value of social media is to create metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) that align with your key business goals, whatever they may be. 

You are probably already using different metrics to measure the value of new product development or customer retention. The same should apply to social media. Your metrics should be determined by what you want to achieve through social media.

A fundamental part of the sales process is getting to know your prospects and establishing relationships and developing them over time. With repeat customers being the best customers a sales professional can have, you will be happy to hear that social media can help you accomplish this quickly and easily.

Know your prospects well

Every good salesperson researches their prospects before meeting them for the first time. It is about understanding and empathy.

Getting to know your prospect, establish relationships and maintain relationships is the key to successful social selling. It works well when the seller knows how to fully engage their customer in the selling process.

When researching a prospect, what should you look for:

• Who are the key individuals within the organization

• Who the salesperson knows

• What’s happening on social media

• What those same customers are looking for from the business

• What their prospect’s customers are complaining about

 

If you know your prospect well, you are halfway there.

Rapport can be built far more quickly with social media than with other methods of marketing. This is because social media is instant. Many companies are able to interact with their customers using twitter, can respond to customer complaints more quickly and in fact it is in their best interest to do so.

Good rapport

No company wants their reputation damaged or tarnished by customers saying how poor the service they received was. A company can then respond to such a complaint almost immediately and will often offer that unhappy customer a discount off a further purchase or another offer.

A strong professional and reputable brand shows you are an active participant in your industry. It leads to more inquiries from prospects and ultimately more clients.

A good salesperson knows that connecting with a customer and building a good rapport is essential for success and as a result a good salesperson not only focuses on selling a product but also on developing a good relationship with the client.

Social selling is here to stay and companies – small, medium and large -are embracing it with vigour. Sales professionals need to do exactly the same and when they do, the ROI will be more than worth it.