Social Selling Tips of the Week: Sell More with a Softer Touch

Make greater inroads social selling with a gentler, more considerate approach

March 1, 2016

  • Soft Touch

Valentine’s Day may be long gone, but don’t lose that loving feeling just yet. Sales reps and managers sometimes get a bad rap for being too aggressive, pushy, and hard-driving. While that’s a gross generalization, sales professions can see greater results by embracing their softer side.

As anyone who’s ever tried to catch a skittish cat knows, pursuing your prospects too aggressively often results in the opposite of the intended effect—you may end up scaring them off and losing the sale opportunity.

This week’s roundup of social selling tips will show reps and managers how to take a lighter touch and let the pursued come to you. 

26 Questions to Create Urgency—Without Being Pushy

Any salesperson worth their salt knows that fostering a sense of urgency is critical for lighting a fire under the prospect and moving them towards buying—but come on too strong and that fire will burn you. Before creating urgency, you need to create a relationship of trust. Dan Tyre of HubSpot reminds us that “most customers buy a product or service for emotional reasons. Even if your product or service is relatively undifferentiated and your prospects are price sensitive, many will still make a decision based on their overall relationship with the salesperson.”

“Of course,” writes Dan, “salespeople can’t—and shouldn’t—try to spur every prospect toward a quick close.” But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye to urgency. He goes on to share 26 brilliant discovery questions to kindle your prospect’s fire without endangering your relationship. 

Socratic Sales Coaching

Sales managers are tasked with driving the performance of their team, but coaching can often be a delicate dance. Come down too hard and you’re micromanaging—too soft, and you’re not doing your job.

There is another way, advises Michelle Vazzana of SalesForce. “No-one likes to be told what to do. However, most people really do like to know what to do,” she shares. Sales managers can guide without micromanaging by leading reps to their own conclusions. How? By asking the right questions, Socratic-style, until the reps come to the solutions in their own terms. “Not too directive,” says Michelle, “[it’s] just sales coaching.”

Improving Your Personal Brand for Better Social Selling

It’s easy to get too focused on your target, to the point of forgetting yourself. In today’s modern buying environment, social selling takes on a more passive mode; your prospects aren’t just doing independent research on the product or service—they’re also going to check you out online.

“A prospective customer or employer in knowing your name will inevitably at some point look you up online,” says Ian Moyse in a recent Pulse article. “The buyer has more control than ever and that includes on finding out about you as a person as well as your proposition and company,” he says. That’s why it’s so important to build a polished personal brand. You’re not only selling when you explicitly reach out—your overall presentation is a softer, often-neglecting side of social selling.

At the end of the day, effective social selling all comes down to building strong relationships based on trust. Trying too hard to lock down a deal can shatter that trust and your chances to close. Use this week’s tips to adopt a gentler approach and get the sales results you’re seeking.

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