The explosion of social media is changing the world rapidly, and the sales world is not any different in this regard. Taking advantage of the 7 steps below will help Considered-Purchase Brands stay ahead of the curve and close more sales, quicker.
Gone are the days of traditional sales techniques and relationship management. These are the days of the social Web, and with the dawning of these days come expectations among your consumers regarding your interactions. No longer are the conversations one-sided from the seller to the consumer; a two-way conversation is possible now, and is, in fact, required. The consumer now holds the power as the keeper of expert knowledge, but fear not my fellow salespeople! If you take advantage of the opportunities the social Web provides you, your customers will reward you greatly:
“According to a study by Cone Inc, 56% of U.S. consumers feel both a stronger connection with and better served by companies when they can interact with them in a social environment.”
Luckily, there is a proven road map for Considered-Purchase Brands looking to get ahead in the social sales arena, which unfolds in the following 7 simple steps:
1.) Get in the Game: One of the most important steps in the process, put in your time early on and do the research. Get to know your potential customer, his/her industry and any other relevant information you can find. The results of a recent survey by IDC showed that nearly 75% of respondents felt that the sales reps were not well-informed enough to be effective. Researching the areas above will lead to much more productive social selling – you are now able to create a custom-tailored proposal to the specific prospect and his/her specific business goals.
2.) Know Your Customers’ Hangouts: Plain and simple, you must find out where your customers are congregating on the social Web, and you must make your presence known there. Tune into their conversations, join groups and forums, and set up Google alerts. Make sure they know you are a contributing member of their social community.
3.) Make Yourself “Like”-able: One of the crossovers in this group from traditional face-to-face sales – build a brand for yourself, and new business will find you. This step involves a lot of dedication to succeed, but ultimately the power is in your hands here. Connect to everyone you know on your social profiles, join relevant industry groups, and, most importantly, start listening and commenting (in other words, connect and BE SOCIAL).
4.) First Friends, Then Leads: Instead of focusing on a hard sell, which generally is not appropriate online, try to understand why customers and prospects are interacting in the specific social setting, and how you can help them find what they desire. The most important part of this step is that you answer any and all questions before you begin pitching ideas/business. Being a resource will bring you much more credibility and increase the chance of the customer doing/continuing business with you.
5.) Connect with Social Intelligence: With the explosion of information in social media, the names and contact information of so many members of a company are now publicly available. Knowing the right people to talk to, as well as the proper cataloging and sales usage of this information is called social intelligence. According to CSO Insights, sales intelligence increases wins by 17%, with social networks being the newest and deepest source of sales intelligence information in the 21st century.
6.) Tweet-up Your Pipeline: Resist the urge to immediately search for leads or connections that bring about leads. Social sales is less about the traditional sales elements, and more about attracting the right prospects. It is recommended that you take an hour every day to nurture your social profiles and to become a thought-leader or information-rich source to help fill the pipeline. When prospects view you as a “consultant” rather than a “salesperson” then you have tilted the scales in your favor. Make sure you post on your sites at least twice per week, and let your personality shine through!
7.) Get Together, Sell Smarter: Creating and maintaining an accurate database in your company’s sales application, via a collaboration tab, allows for all parties within your company to have access to the appropriate contact information and supporting documents, along with other sales intelligence. Participating daily in this collaboration and encouraging others to do so as well will be beneficial for your entire sales team.
The days of traditional selling techniques are long-gone now, and the new techniques are evolving daily. While adapting and keeping up with the changing sales world might be overwhelming at first, using the 7 steps above will help Considered-Purchase Brands come out on top in the social sales revolution.
So what do you think? Do you have any other tips or tricks to help sell in the social sphere? I’d love to hear from you!
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