How to Sell When Prospects Aren't Social

Learn how to use the principles of social selling, even when your target isn’t active on social media.

July 18, 2016

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These days, 75% of buyers use social media as a part of their purchasing decisions, according to a study by IDC. That’s great news for social sellers—but it also means 25% of buyers aren’t using social platforms. Of course, that doesn't mean you have to toss aside the social selling principles you've learned when dealing with these folks.

The vast majority of these buyers still review content before making a decision. In fact, about 80% of them review at least three pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson, according to DemandGen's 2016 Content Preferences Survey Report.

These buyers still expect you to be up-to-date and deliver relevant content to them. Even if they're not active on LinkedIn or Twitter, they’re still probably online and stay current with their industry's trends. And don’t forget that they have colleagues on social media who are involved in the purchasing process—an average of 5.4 decision-makers are influencing that decision.

Here's how to use social selling to appeal to prospects who aren’t using social networks.

Track Company Activity

Even if your prospect isn't on social media, they still operate in a competitive environment; 63% of buyers appreciate being contacted with relevant information and opportunities the right time, IDC reports.

That means it's important to not only follow industry trends, but also to closely watch updates posted to social networks by your lead's company. Make sure to follow their page on LinkedIn and look for trigger events like job openings or changes to regulations that pertain to their industry. Those events often signal that buyers may be looking for a new solution.

One good monitoring tool is LinkedIn's advanced search, where you can save searches and get email updates on new results.

Identify Past Business Contacts

A core principal of social selling is understanding a lead's needs before you approach them. It’s smart to scour your social networks to see who has done business with your prospect's company, and maybe even the prospect herself.

One simple way to do this is to see if one of your connections is also connected on LinkedIn to a leader at your prospect's company. It's worth sending an email to your friend to see if they can shed light on the company's needs and pain points—or provide an introduction.

Create Content

Regardless of whether your prospect is on Twitter or Facebook, positioning yourself as a thought leader is important.

Not only can a lead find your posts to Pulse, Medium, or Forbes via a simple Google search, but you also want to impress and engage your prospects' contacts that are active on social media and can throw in a good word for you.

Personalize Your Pitch

Most importantly, social selling is about casting aside the old-fashioned cold call. With the rise of the social web, we know more about each other than ever, so the regular old sales call isn't going to cut it. Learn as much as you can about your prospects, then tailor your pitch to suit their needs. Follow the trends in your prospect's industry with LinkedIn Groups, locate past business partners, and set up alerts for timely, relevant content that you can share with your prospect.

When it comes time to contact your lead—even if it’s not on social—you’ll be equipped engage them in a thoughtful, personalized way.

For more innovative ways to make sure you are personalizing your sales process, download The Sales Rep Checklist