Ask the Expert: To Succeed in Social Sales, “Don’t Do Normal”

Founder of M3Jr Growth Strategies Mario Martinez Jr. says ditch the status quo: going the extra mile in your social selling efforts will pay off in the long run

August 31, 2016

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Mario Martinez Jr. discovered the importance of social selling four years ago, when he did a Google search on his own name. He didn’t find anything about himself.  Instead, the first result that popped up was a picture of someone covered in face tattoos and piercings.  This wasn’t the image he wanted to portray, and he realized that in order to promote himself, he needed to have some kind of brand presence.  He began curating his LinkedIn profile as well as other social media tools for his personal networking, and it wasn’t long until he saw the benefits of translating this socially engaged strategy to his work in sales and using it to help his sales teams.  Today, he leads his own social selling training & consulting business and is recognized as a thought leader in the industry, and so we wanted to chat with him about what it takes to boost your social selling game.

LI: As a social seller, what is the best way to boost credibility of your personal brand?

MM: To boost credibility, follow these four steps and make sure you are using the social networks your buyers use too.

Step 1 - Brand Yourself: You have to have social profiles that align with the customers’ buying journey.  For example, the majority of sales and marketers with a LinkedIn profile make the mistake of letting their profile read like a resume.  If your profile reads like a resume your buyer very likely will think #YourBrandSucks and you will lose buyers after the first click into your profile.  To fix your profile make sure you define your goals: what do you want your LinkedIn profile to do? Once you decide map your profile to your buyers’ journey. 

Step 2 – Engage: Next, engage with your targeted buyer socially by leveraging tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Twitter and YouTube.  Like, comment, share and or tweet.  Also make sure that on LinkedIn and Twitter you leverage hashtags for keywords your buyers are searching!

Step 3 – Connect: Once you have them engaged, step three is connect with them!  Post connecting the most important thing you can do is ensure you humanize the connection experience. The number one failure among salespeople attempting to engage in social selling today is that they fail to humanize the connection with their prospective buyers.  They are either focused on trying to get an appointment or connecting with the buyer then trying to book an appointment.  In the end, they come across as just another pitch that lands in an inbox and is then deleted.  If you are successful in adding a follower or 1st degree connection to your network, then you must next humanize the connection experience.  I tell my students, write at least one article that talks about pain, struggle, and success that you can share with your new connection after you have connected.  Do not go in and ask for a meeting right after connecting (unless you’ve been invited to do so).  Rather, let your new connection or follower get to know you by sharing a piece of content that allows them to develop an emotional connection to you. 

Step 4 – Feed: Once you have connected with your prospective buyers, feed your network with valuable content that is pertinent to solving their industry problems and shows how you can possibly help them. Your buyers are looking for information; give it to them so they don’t need to go anywhere else.

LI: What is one of the most common mistakes social sellers make today when pitching prospects, and how can that be avoided?

MM: Don’t do normal and don’t pitch. The common mistake many sales representatives currently make is they go straight into pitching their product without thinking first of how they can help solve a business problem for their buyer.  Worse yet, some sales reps and leaders cannot articulate what are the industry or business problems they solve for their clients.  Review all available information, including what your prospective buyers have shared on social media, to determine what they need help with and how you can address that.  Sometimes the content that you might share with them may be related to something that is of personal interest to them.  Remember, your goal is to also build a relationship.  Friends help friends.  Don’t do normal and pitch.  Be a value added resource.

LI: What are the most important tools social sellers need to exceed quota and excel at their jobs?

MM: My best advice is - Don’t do normal, get LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Set up Twitter and leverage YouTube. Use Feedly, it’s a free tool and a phenomenal way to pull in content to feed your network.  If your company has procured an employee advocacy tool like EveryoneSocial you must use it.  If not, then if you are a sales person or a business owner go out and purchase a tool like eClincher, a competitor to Hootsuite.  Tools like EveryoneSocial and eClincher are amazing content sharing tools to leverage for your personal branding and social media sharing efforts. Take pride in your business, don’t be left behind, adopt to the changing behavior of your buyer and most importantly, be your own CEO, get and manage these tools. Even if your company does not provide them, buy these tools and invest in yourself.

LI: What do you think is currently the biggest communication gap between salespeople and prospective buyers, and how does social selling fix this?

Salespeople are looking to sell, and buyers are looking at how to solve problems. Salespeople need to stop thinking about how they are going to sell, and start focusing on help.  Once you understand how to help then leverage social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube and align content to your targeted buyers needs and share it regularly.  The benefit of engaging socially is that you potentially are able to touch your clients much more often than you would through email or even a voicemail. But you have to get them into your network first.

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