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How to master the art of social selling

15th Dec 2016
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Social selling isn’t a difficult concept. It is simply using social media to directly engage prospective customers with information and other content. This is done in hopes that the prospective customer will ultimately become an actual customer. It may help to view social selling as being less intrusive than cold-calling but more conversion oriented than most content marketing.

Like any kind of selling social selling requires both finesse and an understanding of human nature. It comes more naturally to some than it does others. However, it is a skill that virtually anybody can master or at least learn to do better. The following tips will help you on your way to mastering social selling.

Complete Your Social Media Profiles

Your prospective clients know that you have read their social media profiles and that you have perused their posts to learn more about them. They also know that you will use this information to customize the content you share with them and the way that you engage with them. This isn’t a problem.

What can be a problem is if your social media profiles are incomplete or have information in them that could be troubling or controversial. Take the time to complete profiles, especially your contact information, and be sure everything you are sharing is above board and professional.

Use a Great Profile Picture

This is a small thing, but it is important. People do respond to visuals, and they will feel more comfortable dealing with you if you create a sense of familiarity. The easiest way to accomplish this is to use a nice looking profile picture. Ideally it should be professional looking, depict you smiling, and be less than two years old.

Mix Social Selling With Other Proven Tactics

Social selling is great, but you aren’t going to earn a lot of money if you think you can abandon other sales tactics. There are going to be times when you simply need to pick up the phone and make person to person contact with someone.

In fact, part of being an intuitive salesperson is recognizing this. Some people might enjoy starting the sales process off on social media, but prefer to close the deal using more traditional means. Others don’t want to get anywhere near the funnel without a phone call or email. Then there are those who are perfectly fine executing the entire cycle using social channels.

Share Content That Cements Your Expertise

A large part of social selling is your ability to get people to see you as a reliable source of help and information about the products and services in your niche. Because of this, the lion’s share of the content that you offer up should contribute to this. Thought leadership posts, whitepapers, eBooks, Question And Answer posts, and other content that allows you to demonstrate that you are a subject matter expert should be  your focus. Entertaining or promotional content should only be used to round things out. For a great example of achieving this balance, take a look at Traveling Vineyards Instagram posts on wine pairings and other similar topics. Consider focusing on platforms such as Twitter and Quora to participate in conversations that help you display your expertise.

It’s All Sales All The Time

Too many people make the mistake of treating their social media activity as fully independent behaviors, none of which impact the other. Nothing can be further from the truth and failing to recognize this can be more than a little problematic.

Remember that every post and every interaction that occurs on your social media feeds is going to influence, positively or negatively, whether or not people want to do business with you. Before you share that risque joke or politically charged post, or you match wits with a frustrating troll, take a moment to consider your target audience and how that post will be interpreted by them.

There’s nothing wrong with having strong opinions. However, you  might be well served keeping your professional and personal social media lives separate.

Start a Spreadsheet of Prospects That You Find on Social Media

As you begin to identify people who could become prospective clients, create a spreadsheet. Store contact information as well as interests, pipeline information, and original point of contact. Once your spreadsheet becomes significantly full of contact information, you might consider investing in a CRM package. There are a few CRM apps that cost little to no money if your company is small enough.

Know When to Push People Into And Down The Funnel

When of the difficult points of social selling is that it can be difficult to determine when it is time to start pushing the sale. As a result, many sales people spend way too much time in limbo with potential customers. They continue to share content, answer questions, and engage. In the meantime, they aren’t making any progress towards landing a sale.

There comes a point when you will have to ask to set up a sales appointment or a product demo. While there is no guarantee that this will result in a sale, most people are astute enough that they won’t treat this as an intrusion nor will they get offended.

Take some time to incorporate these techniques into your social selling efforts. They will help you in your efforts to engage with your customers as well as increasing the chances that those engagements will eventually turn into sales. One you learn to balance relationship building with sales tactics, you might find that social selling becomes a real source of revenue generation for your brand.

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