Social Selling: Another Tactic for Building Relationships
Who should listen: If you’re a sales professional eager for ideas about how to best use social selling to produce more leads, then this episode is for you.
Key point: Don’t forget the “social” in social media. Regardless of how you build business relationships, the process takes time, involves effort, needs to be consistent, and requires sincere interest in other people.
Action item: Create a “Dream 100” social media account.
Social selling is essentially using social media to engage with a potential business lead. More officially, Hootsuite defines it this way:
Social selling is the art of using social media to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects. It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers so you’re the first person or brand a prospect thinks of when they’re ready to buy.
If you’ve been following Stay Paid at all, this definition should sound very familiar to you.
For practical purposes, social selling is relationship marketing using social media. The purpose of both is to create and nurture relationships in a way that keeps you top of mind.
Does social selling work?
Like any strategy, you want to know whether it works. When it comes to social selling, the answer is yes, but with one big caveat . . . you need to put in the time it takes to develop the relationship. And we’re not talking about investing a few days. We’re potentially talking about weeks.
As Luke says, you can’t forget about the social aspect of social selling.
It’s through careful, prolonged, and useful engagement that people will grow to know, like, and trust you. Only then might someone be willing to listen to your pitch.
- 78% of salespeople engaged in social selling are outselling their peers who aren’t.
- 31% of B2B professionals say that social selling has allowed them to build deeper relationships with clients.
- More than 10% of social sales reps have closed 5 or more deals due to being active on social media.
- 76% of buyers are ready to have a social media conversation with potential providers.
- 92% of B2B buyers are willing to engage with a sales professional who is a known industry thought leader.
- 53% of customer loyalty is driven by a salesperson’s ability to deliver unique insight, easily done through social media.
- A full 71% of all sales professionals and 90% of top salespeople are already using social selling tools.
- That percentage gets even higher with the younger generation. 78% of Millennials say they use social selling tools.
- On top of that, 63% of those Millennials say social selling is crucial for their business.
- Social sellers are 51% more likely to achieve sales quotas.
- Companies with consistent social selling processes are 40% more likely to hit revenue goals than non-social sellers.
- 39% of B2B professionals said social selling reduced the amount of time they had to spend researching potential leads.
- 84% of C-Level executives use social media to make purchasing choices.
- 33% of users prefer to contact brands using social media instead of making a phone call.
That’s a lot of numbers, but let’s boil it down to one tell-all statistic:
As of 2021, the number of people using social media is over 3.96 BILLION worldwide. With all that potential for business, why wouldn’t you go after your piece of the pie?
Social selling with LinkedIn
Social selling requires finding people who are either representative of your ideal client or who can put you in touch with those who are. Of course, this makes LinkedIn the ideal social-selling platform. With LinkedIn, you can conduct hyperfocused searches to find industries, locations, connections, and decision makers.
There’s some debate about whether the Social Selling Index is as important to your social selling success as it may appear.
Some like to claim it’s just another vanity metric. (We like to remind people that depending on what makes sense for your business, one person’s vanity metric is another person’s KPI.)
Others believe it’s a hook to upsell customers to Sales Navigator.
Still more claim that, regardless of your score, the LinkedIn SSI does provide a useful set of metrics:
- How well are they able to build their brand?
- Do they focus on the right prospects?
- Is the content they share relevant and engaging?
- Are they building trusted relationships?
Whatever side of the debate you come down on, remember that it’s not called LinkedIn selling. You can use any social media platform, especially those that aren’t oversaturated with users, to engage with people, build relationships, offer value, and eventually move off-line where you can discuss business. Your audience and marketing strategy should ultimately dictate which platforms you decide to use.
Connect | Resources
Episode 69: When Persistence Makes Perfect (with Keith Wilson)
Episode 185: Create a LinkedIn Profile That Will Have Prospects Calling You (with Jimmy Coleman)
Episode 209: Don’t Be Famous. Be MicroFamous (with Matt Johnson)
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