There is social selling and then there is what is referred to as inbound social selling and how it can be effective in gaining prospecting partners.
What are inbound sales exactly?
It is a selling philosophy that takes on a more consultative technique. Instead of concentrating on the sales pitch, inbound sales are more about keeping track of buyers as they look and research, learning as much as possible about them, and helping steer them toward a purchasing decision.
Social selling is an inbound sales option that is like lead nurturing. Instead of the old cold calling, hard-selling, and scripted conversations, inbound social selling is about connecting and conversing with possible and current clients on various social media platforms. Doing so let us sales reps gain better insight into who the prospects might be, develop shared interests, and create a common ground.
Why social media? According to recent research, an average user spends 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on social media — learning more about products or services, sharing information (often personal) about themselves, getting entertained, socializing and more.
Here are 3 tips all sales reps should know to be successful in inbound social selling:
Routine Time & Effort Needed
Connecting with others on social media sounds easy but there is more to it than just hitting the like button and adding a post or two. Chances are good you are already using at least one platform on a personal level. However, as a sales tool, it requires a good amount of time and hard work. Also, it requires being consistent.
Besides being in the same areas your prospects spend their time; you as a sales rep should regularly participate in those platforms:
Make sure you create an optimized profile (professional headshot, accurate description, link to the company website, etc.)
Subscribe and become a member of blogs
Join groups and pertinent and relevant forums
Interact with the content your audience likes and shares
Answer questions, inquiries and always respond to comments
Use several popular networks (like LinkedIn) to find common connections and ask for referrals
Creating original content to share
Inbound Selling Can Serve as a Platform for Thought Leadership
Inbound social selling is at its best when you as a salesperson can also share original ideas. For example, prospects utilize social networks as a research tool. As a sales rep if you want to be recognized as an expert in your subject matter make yourself known as an educator.
If you are already adding content around the Internet that is great, but as a sales rep, you should help push content to other networks too. Build real authority by creating and publishing your original content. Doing this will heal you reach a wider audience and take part in ownership in the lead nurturing process.
The goal is to get audiences engaging with and sharing your content also known as “social proof” — which can be powerful in the development of brand trust and authority.
Social Connections Not Always Invitations
A social network connection should not be thought of or considered as an open invitation for sales reps to make their sales pitch. Of course, using social platforms to sell is what it is all about but keep in mind what they are intended for: share information, learn more about each other, and build relationships.
Remember there is a time for acting on social connections; if you push and move too fast, you could intimidate and scare off a prospect. You may also miss out on learning more about them and building your credibility. The overall point of inbound social selling is to nurture leads and learn more about them to create a buying experience that is personalized and customized.
Research suggests Inbound social selling works and about 72.6 % of salespeople who use social selling as part of their sales process outperformed their sales peers. Cold calling only has a 2.5% appointment rate. And non-social media sellers missed their quota 15% more often than their sales peers who use social media.
"attracting the right people can be hard but with the right strategies and software it becomes much easier." -Sally Stevens - Cofounder and Marketing Manager - FastPeopleSearch.io
Today’s way of social selling has evolved and is easier than ever to get in on the action of the right strategy.