3 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Social Selling Skills
Are you prepared for digital transformation? Last month, we covered why it’s vital for salespeople to stay open to learning in order to leverage the benefits of digital. Today, we're going to help you take the next step in your digital transformation by focusing on 3 things you can do to improve your social selling status.
“Social sellers realize 66% greater quota attainment than those using traditional prospecting techniques” according to a study on Hubspot.
Additionally, 69% of leads gathered on social media were converted to opportunities, compared to only 1% of leads gathered from cold calling.
Since 75% of B2B leaders regularly use social media in their decision making process, it makes sense that cold calling doesn’t yield as high of results as social selling.
In fact, buyers reported several reasons for their preference:
- cold callers aren’t prepared to answer the questions clients ask
- cold callers can’t provide relevant case studies
- clients received more insight from communicating with salespeople online and saw value in that
The negative experiences clients and prospects have with cold callers aren’t necessarily the result of having a conversation over the phone rather than chatting online -- it speaks more to the mindset of cold callers who are missing the point of what clients want.
Today, “starting with the view of the customer, understanding their wants and desires, and understanding how to solve their problems holds the key to success.”
So, with all of this in mind, how do you become a social selling ninja?
As we’ve discussed in previous posts, the answer lies in a combination of two things: (1) learning and effectively using digital technology and (2) reinvesting in interpersonal relationships with clients.
Become an Expert on Your Client
Thanks to all the information available online, you can research your client’s industry and their own own digital presence before you ever interact with them. Thoroughly researching your client will prepare you to have focused, in-depth conversations without wasting anyone’s time.
So, where to start?
Research the Client’s Industry
In order to provide targeted insight and practical solutions, salespeople must stay aware of market trends. Following the trends of the client’s industry will allow you to identify pain points and ask the right questions when you eventually talk to your client on the phone. Tools like Feedly and Social Mention allow you to track conversations on keywords and topics.
Get To Know Your Clients Social Habits
Another kind of research you should be doing is about your client’s own social media habits and behavior. Ask yourself: which websites does the client visit? How do they engage on those platforms? Find something you and your prospect or client have in common and then leverage that information to personalize your next conversation.
By amassing and analyzing this data, you will prove yourself to be not a single-focus sales-bot, but an industry expert who wears many hats - i.e. a consultant, a connector, a digital guru, etc.
Create Your Own Social Media Content
Even the most dull, wonky topics can be crafted into funny, eye-catching social media content if you are passionate about your product and willing to get creative. As a social seller, you should make it part of your job to curate and create content that will be interesting to your current and future clients.
Not sure where to start? Fortunately, there is now a body of research on how to create engaging content. For instance, you might consider asking readers for their opinion on a topic, encouraging the people on your newsletter to respond to you directly, or posting a poll where they can show off their industry know-how.
One of the benefits of digital technology is the opportunity to provide transparency, which happens to be what many clients value most today. When you position yourself as a respected member of the industry with a robust online presence, clients will see that you take your work seriously, and they’re more likely to trust that you will be invested in collaborating with them to solve problems and offering a customized solution.
Above all, clients want to work with a salesperson they can trust. Remember to be authentic and treat your client like a human being.
In my experience working with a client who seems hesitant, I’ve had more success when I’ve done more listening than talking. One client who wouldn’t initially admit that he needed additional exposure mentioned that he was in a slow season, which he came to expect at that time of year. I jumped on that detail and rather than pitching what I could offer, I asked him questions about his experience. Off the cuff, I was able to make some recommendations that had more to do with his internal operations than my business solution. Ultimately, that conversation felt more like an ideation session than a sales call. By taking a conversational tone and making honest recommendations, I was able to build trust with the client.
Bottom line, use messaging that speaks the truth and that represents an honest reflection of you and your company's values. While your online presence is important, a human connection is also essential. According to Digital Marketing Institute, “above all, sales professionals need to support and guide prospects through digital channels in a way that isn't all about the sale but providing an excellent customer experience.”
Salespeople can leverage digital transformation by converting their sales process to digital and social selling. Connect with leads online through engaging content intended for your target audience. Use digital tools to learn about their industry-specific trends and pain points so that you’re able to be an expert consultant when you talk on the phone. Be transparent and patient with clients as you guide them through the whole process in order to convert leads into lifetime customers.
Wondering what other digital skills you should be focused on improving? You’re in luck! Join us on Thursday May 31st at 1pm EDT to learn the top 5 digital skills all sales and marketing professionals need to focus on improving.
About Brittany Bookbinder
Brittany is an actor, writer, and Muppet enthusiastic. She grew up on Long Island, where her hobbies included writing love poems and watching TGIF, often at the same time. These days, she writes for Evil Studios Ltd., performs comedy and music, and makes video shorts independently and with the iO Comedy Network. She has performed in independent films, regional theatre, sketch comedy and improv all over Chicago. She is also an artistic collaborator with Theater Unspeakable, with whom she co-created Superman 2050 and Murder on the Midwest Express. She has performed Superman 2050 throughout the country, including Lincoln Center in NYC and the Kennedy Center in DC. Training: She holds a B.S. Theatre, a minor in Creative Writing and a certificate in Music Theatre from Northwestern University. She has studied acting at the School at Steppenwolf and British American Drama Academy. She has studied improv in the Second City Conservatory, iO Chicago, CIC Theatre and currently at the Annoyance. Brittany is a guest blog contributor for DMTraining.