Getting Started with Social Selling

May 19, 2015


Many sales professionals and sales leaders think that social selling starts with an ideal, buyer-centric LinkedIn profile.

I disagree.

Getting started with social selling has nothing to do with a certain tool, profile, or piece of content. Those are all actions that can be taken to help make you more successful once you’ve started.

Social selling actually begins with a mindset shift. It begins with erasing your current notion of how social media plays a part of your world, and requires that you begin to evolve your thinking.

Where Does Your Current Mindset Come From?

You first need to understand where your current mindset on social selling comes from. Most people signed up for a Facebook account before they joined LinkedIn. Your Facebook “friends” were seen as part of a closed network of your real-life friends, family, and classmates or colleagues. That meant your social network was in close proximity to your life but offered little value to your sales efforts.

Then you discovered LinkedIn, and might have treated it the same way. You probably connected with the same people on each platform, while perhaps occasionally adding clients or prospects to your LinkedIn network, too.

The Problem with This Approach

This methodology to making digital connections leaves you with terrible “social reach,” meaning your first-degree connection to ideal buyers on social channels is minimal. This can present problems in influencing your buyers, as they’re often not your first-degree LinkedIn connections. You then end up sharing great content, chalk-full of best practices and new insights, into a vortex of emptiness. No one who cares is listening.

The Necessary Shift

Long before you start rebuilding your LinkedIn profile or saving Advanced Searches, change the way you approach social for business. Why should you change your current thinking? Because often the people who would receive the most value from your shared content and updates are professionals you’re not yet connected to.

  1. The better the buyers in your network, the better the exposure. Sales will always be a numbers game, so maximizing your exposure makes sense. That said, having exposure to the right buyer means more than having exposure to two of the wrong ones.
  1. The more “right” buyers exposed to your content, the more that content gets shared. If your buyers are CFOs, they’re probably connected to other CFOs. The likes and comments on your content push it into the hands of other relevant professionals. The more relevant your content is, and the more supportive it is in a prospect’s buying decision, the more likely it is to not only be consumed, but also shared.
  1. The more relevant and helpful exposure you have, the more leads and opportunities occur. As your connections share your great content, both your first-and-second-degree connections are more likely to keep you top of mind. This is especially true because of the relationships that exposure allows you to build. Engaging with them in a meaningful way makes them more likely to think of you when new business challenges need to be solved.
  1. The more buyers in your network, the more network introductions you can procure. It’s important to realize that the people who enter your network are golfing buddies, ex-college roommates, and neighbors with your future buyers. As these people review your LinkedIn profile, making themselves known to you, you can identify which people you can potential help. And because they’re second-degree connections, you already have the opportunity for a warm introduction.

How do you start social selling? Start thinking differently about who makes up your social network in the first place. It’s great to be connected to friends and family, or someone outside of your industry you’ve built a relationship with. But your focus should be on “reaching out” to connect with the people you simply want to “reach.” Think strategically about making new connections, and set yourself up for social selling success.

To learn more about how to get started with social selling, download the eBook "The Ultimate Guide: How to use LinkedIn for Social Selling".