The Most Important Social Selling Activities, According to Top Performers
June 7, 2018
As a concept, social selling isn’t difficult to understand. Prospects and buyers, like basically everyone else in today’s world, are generally active on social media. It’s typically a part of their research process when considering a purchase. Why would sellers not want to try and engage them on these platforms?
But as a practice, social selling isn’t quite so cut-and-dry. This is still relatively new ground for a lot of sales professionals.
With only so much time in a day to dedicate to the tactic, how can you be sure you’re prioritizing the most valuable activities, and not wasting your time on ineffective ones?
To help establish a baseline for social selling best practices, we figured we would turn to the folks who do it best. So we dug up some of the most useful first-hand insights from high-performing and influential social sellers to see which activities they point to as their most vital.
Let their experience and expertise guide you as you formulate your own blueprint for social selling mastery.
Experts Share Their Social Selling Best Practices
Build Out Your Network
“Some people focus too heavily on the selling part of social selling, but it is important to focus on the social part as well. True results are only as strong as your network. When you prospect, and see that your connections who can make referrals are people you don’t really know it’s time to reach out and suggest a conversation to get to know each other better.” — Beth Granger (via Top Dog Social Media)
“Content curators have a powerful way of connecting people with information. Great curation sets the foundation for engagement. If you respect other people in the industry, by sharing and acknowledging their content, you demonstrate your knowledge and expertise as well as build relationships and influence.” — Hank Nothhaft, Jr. (via Sales Reboot Camp)
Be Active But Efficient
“Every morning I recognize birthdays, work anniversaries, job changes on LinkedIn with personalized messages as well as liking, commenting and sharing people’s posts on all platforms. I also post things every day that I think people will find useful and interesting. Most people think I spend much more time doing this stuff but the reality is that even with nearly 8,000 LinkedIn connections I probably spend less than an hour doing all of the aforementioned. I also typically will connect with people I find inspiring or interesting every day with a personalized message. I’ve never once sent out a generic connection request.” — Scott MacGregor (via Adaptive Business Services)
Always Be Improving
“The best way to get better at social selling is by learning from your existing efforts. Collect insights from your current efforts and see what’s effective as well as what isn’t. Based on this data, ask yourself what you should be doing differently and what you can do better.” — Shane Barker (via Sprout Social)
Absorb All Available Insights
"LinkedIn is probably where I spend at least 50% of my day; not just for hunting, but researching, listening, and scanning what is going on with buy prospects and buyers. Did they get funding? Did they buy a company? Are they promoting their annual conference? Are they not sharing anything at all? It is so telling what gets shared." — Carly Wennogle (via Sales Reboot Camp)
Ensure Your Profiles are Updated, Relevant, Useful
Find Commonalities and Deliver Value Up-Front
“You’re looking for a common connection that will help you build an authentic connection. You don’t start with the hard sale — that turns everyone off. Instead, look for common ground such as you’re both into coaching a particular sport or are part of the same group on LinkedIn. From there, look for ways to add value first. GIVE before you ever ask for something. I know you feel the sales pressure, but that smell of desperation will repel the very people you’re trying to attract. Instead, look for authentic ways you can be helpful and just do it.” — Bill Carmody (via Huffington Post)
Don’t Rush the Process
“Make friends first, do business last. One of the biggest mistakes I see social sellers do is rush to move the sale ahead. They connect, and then they pitch their product or service. I don’t like it – and your prospects don’t like it. Instead, look for what’s in common, and have a conversation about that. Be a person and make a real connection. Then earn the right for a future conversation by adding value to them, sharing an article or two with them, asking some insightful questions about what you shared, and then, once you’ve become friendly, invite a deeper conversation.” — Phil Gerbyshak (via Top Dog Social Media)
Master the Art of Multi-Threading
“Since numerous professionals from the same business may have profiles on the same social network, you can connect with different people working for the same organization. This helps increase your influence in that company at various levels. Let’s stop for a moment here and rewind back to the era of cold calling. In that era, sales executives would have to struggle to get past the gatekeepers (speaking figuratively), to even have a chance to pitch a sale to the top fish. However, social selling enables you to connect directly with the top-level decision makers. Even a decent salesperson can use this virtual power to influence relevant decisions within an organization.” — Koka Sexton (via KokaSexton.com)
Integrate Social Selling into Your Strategy
“The end goal of investing in social selling is to move the pipeline, revenue, and customer advocacy needles by deepening relationships. The natural reaction is to buy the bright shiny object; not do the hard work of strategy, planning, goals, and tactics. It's all too easy to take a silo approach versus embedding social selling into existing processes, methodologies, systems, and metrics. Culture and executive buy-in/sponsorship are critical. Cross-functional collaboration is NOT OPTIONAL.” — Jill Rowley (via Salesforce)
We hope these 10 practical tips can help you develop a social selling routine that consistently drives results. For much more guidance on the subject, download the LinkedIn Selling Tactical Plan.