What’s the Secret to Social Selling?

What’s the secret to “social selling?” It seems like I hear this term all the time now, and I’m constantly asked:

“How do I get more prospects and close more business using social selling?”

Just the other day, I had a start-up business owner ask me how to convert more business-to-business prospects through LinkedIn.

My answer to them was to build more personal connections.

I see an increasing amount of sales people and small business owners believing they can rely on social media messaging alone to grow their businesses. It sure is enticing!

I even teach a class called Grow Your Business with LinkedIn that you might presume is social selling. People think they can send countless emails or InMails to prospects pitching their products or services, and buyers are going to purchase in droves. If this were true, companies would just eliminate sales people and create more bots to send canned messages.

Wouldn’t you like to buy your company’s insurance plan from a bot?

Or your dream home?

The purpose of social selling (which should be called social marketing, in my opinion), is to build awareness of your product or service and connect with people in an authentic way.

From time to time, there will be a buyer interested in what you have right now, but more often than not, buyers are not in the consideration phase at one given moment. In my experience, only 1-3% of people making a purchase of a complex product or service (not a commodity) are ready to buy now. Flip this around and that means 97-99% are not.

So, what do you do?

You work on those personal connections, that’s what.

  • You write articles to establish credibility and your expertise
  • You attend the networking function to meet people in person and you follow up with a connection request on LinkedIn
  • You share a referral or make an introduction
  • You make a phone call to see what’s new in their business, what’s changed, or if there’s anything on the horizon you should be aware of and ready to help them
  • You meet for coffee
  • You make a phone call to invite them to a special event you’re hosting that’s valuable to their business
  • You attend the charity event they’ve been working so hard to coordinate
  • You read business articles and share information that’s pertinent to your prospect

You don’t connect and start pitching your product right away (unless you already established there is a need).

“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.” Mary Kay Ash

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