Sales has always been social. We seem to have forgotten this in the past decade as we’ve tried to reduce the amount of social connection and increase the automation of our sales process.
Social selling has turned this way of thinking on it’s head and put the spotlight back on interacting with prospects rather than pushing them towards a sale directly.
It consists of starting the sales process with tools like LinkedIn and Twitter to engage in a two way conversation before a one way pitch is presented.
Our prospects want it too –
- 22% of the time spent on the Internet is on social media sites
- 85% think companies should interact on social media
- 56% of people feel a stronger connection with companies who engage on social media
Why Prospect On LinkedIn?
LinkedIn has several advantages over the other social networking platforms for salespeople when they’re prospecting for new business –
- It’s a business social network and so prospects have their business heads on rather than their family heads when you connect with them on there
- It’s more socially acceptable to reach out to business contacts on LinkedIn than on other social networks
- As your profile shows your expertise, connections and job information it acts as great social proof when making that first interaction
Because of this it’s the first place salespeople should start when they begin to experiment with social selling.
Breaking out of obscurity
Salespeople should be using LinkedIn to connect with prospects for one reason only – to break out of obscurity.
No one can buy your product if they don’t know what it is and who you are. Until you have connected with them you’re not giving them the opportunity to receive value from you and your company.
You’re doing them a favour by connecting (as long as they’re a qualified buyer and you’re not just spamming).
Here are the best ways to break out of obscurity and connect with your prospects over LinkedIn –
- Join the LinkedIn groups they’re in
- Follow their public page
- Follow their company page
- Connect with individuals the level above your prospect
- Comment on their blog posts
- Share an article with them over LinkedIn
- Tag them in an insightful status update
- Send an InMail to request their email address to send an industry whitepaper
Barb heads up Social Centered Selling and is the co-author of The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, the first book written on social selling.
Learn more – BarbaraGiamanco.com
For more expert sales training check out – SalesSchool.org