When does Social Selling Just Become Selling?

Social selling is here to stay -- so what does that mean for “selling” in general? Learn why selling without social just doesn’t make sense in today’s market.

July 27, 2014

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Social selling is here to stay -- so what does that mean for “selling” in general? At this point, selling without using social media just seems outdated. Salespersons that don’t use social media are at a significant disadvantage with new prospects as cold calling doesn’t cut it anymore.

There are numerous reasons why “social selling” should just be called “selling” from now on – there is no longer any distinction among modern selling techniques. These factors demonstrate why selling with social media just makes sense in today’s market:

It’s simply more effective

Fifty-four percent of sellers attribute at least one closed deal to social media interactions – and many more regularly close with these tools. There is a wealth of documented proof that social-infused sales techniques generate more leads and revenue. Any salesperson looking to “sell” in the digital era needs to include social tactics in their sales strategy.

It encourages good content creation/curation

Targeted, relevant content fuels the social selling process, and works to establish credibility for the representative. However, this process should involve more than publishing an occasional status update or link. Powerful status updates contain personal analyses, captivating imagery, and shortened links to the target content (blog post, video, white paper, etc).

It emphasizes listening in an age where everyone wants to be heard

Social listening is a timely process, but your customers demand it. Before you work to engage with your prospects on LinkedIn, develop a listening strategy that tracks target keywords and topics over time. These results can help hone your engagement strategy, so you’ll know exactly what to talk about. Blindly entering a potential sale is not an option with the amount of data available at your finger tips.

It’s cost-effective

Several social tracking and publishing tools are available for limited cost (or even free), so the cost-barriers to effective selling have been demolished. Cost-per-lead metrics are significantly reduced when social media is included – by as much as 75 percent in some cases. Money saved from overhead costs can be repurposed into stronger social tools like Sponsored Updates and sales management suites.

It builds social capital

The connections established from social media have inherent value for the salesperson and prospect. This value can be partially quantified as “social capital”, or the degree to which a person can influence action from others online. Social influencers hold extensive capital, which they use to provide insights on industry news and guide followers toward sound decisions. Building your social capital through consistent engagement and content production ensures a stronger online profile – and a better chance at landing high-profile prospects.

So, if "social selling" should just be called "selling" at this point, what would we call selling without social media? Non-selling? Unselling? In any case, it won’t be as effective without a robust social presence to complement the strategy.

Few social sellers started out as experts with the practice. Check out the Fool-Proof Guide to Social Selling for tips on how to get started, and visit us on Twitter @LinkedInSelling for more social selling insights.

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