5 Power Tips for Achieving Social Selling Success
Supercharge your sales with this advice from social selling superstars Jamie Shanks, Barb Giamanco, Jill Rowley, Koka Sexton, and Jill Konrath.
September 8, 2015
In just a few short years, social selling has gone from a buzzword to the new norm for successful sales professionals. In a couple more years, “social selling” will just be called “selling,” and the people who didn’t adapt will be in a different profession.
So the question is no longer, “should I adopt social selling?” It’s “how can I be the best social seller I can be?” No matter how skilled you already are, it’s important to keep evaluating your progress and keep improving.
To develop as a social seller, you can learn from the people who are absolutely rocking social selling now. At LinkedIn Sales Solutions, we read dozens of sales blogs and LinkedIn Publishing Platform posts to stay on top of our game. Here are a few power tips from some of the profession’s best and brightest.
Barb Giamanco: Strategy before Tactics
While it’s a good idea to add social selling tactics into your sales routine, you will be far more effective with a strategy to back them up. Barb advises that you “Start by addressing the integration of social activities into your overall sales strategy. Who are you trying to reach? What is your core message to them? What platforms do they use? What kind of content will you share and why? What’s your process for managing information? What are the ultimate outcomes you seek to measure? Answer these questions and more, then build your social strategy plan, which includes tactics, and execute consistently.”
Jill Konrath: Get in Early
You will often hear that buyers are 60% or more through the buying cycle when they reach out to a salesperson. That doesn’t mean you should wait around for them. Jill advises that you seek out your prospects earlier rather than later: “First off, if you get in early, you can share ideas, insights and information that would help them achieve their objectives. This then positions you as a valuable resource – someone who is truly focused on their success. You’ll never be seen as just another self-serving salesperson. Plus, you’ll have a chance to develop relationships with key people, before they’re looking—and thus build a trust advantage. Finally, by getting in early, you’ll be able to impact the decision criteria instead of just responding to it.”
Koka Sexton: Engage Rather Than Sell
When you connect with a potential prospect on LinkedIn, it’s tempting to jump right into the pitch. Old-school heavy sales tactics are less effective for social selling, though. Instead, Koka says: “It becomes crucial to engage potential customers with content that is relevant and intelligent…But, beware. As stated earlier, social mediums are not the ideal forums to make sales pitches. My advice is keep sending them educational materials, then drop in something on your company, and they will click on it. The reason behind this is to simply build trust. If a salesperson comes across a discussion on LinkedIn that is relevant to his service or company, he must simply offer advice or factual, relevant information without any mention of his company. This helps build an image of a ‘connection’ who is unbiased in his advice.”
Jill Rowley: Make It a Habit
Social selling is a process that requires patience and ongoing commitment. Jill sums it up this way: “You can’t just share one article or favorite one buyer’s tweet and then be done with it. Social selling is a continuous journey. Salespeople must commit to infusing social networking into their daily routines for social activity to have an impact on revenue.”
Jamie Shanks: Build Your Brand
Your online brand is the one asset you have that differentiates you from the competition. Keep it professional, but personal and authentic. As Jamie says, “Your social presence across the networks where you publish should be unique, consistent and compelling. Brand yourself and tell your story through the content you create and curate. People want to buy from people that educate them, not robots.”
Achieving social selling success is an ongoing process. It’s worth your time to evaluate and refine your social selling routine, spending more time on what works and optimizing practices that aren’t getting results. As you implement these five tips into your day-to-day, keep an eye on your SSI Dashboard to monitor your progress.
For more advice from the pros on upping your social selling game, download The Sales Manager's Guide to Driving Social Media Adoption and Revenue.