4 Tips For Social Selling Success

Digital tools are essential in helping companies win in business. Initial face-to-face meetings without doing homework online has become the exception rather than the rule. Social selling is no longer just a buzzword — it’s become a formidable weapon in any successful sales process. The secret in getting the most utility for social selling is to make sure that social media connections are created through real-world affinities and interests. People connect to other people – not channels. Social media is still social and is rooted in conversations. Bearing this in mind, here are four tips to connect your offline and online sales worlds.

Tip #1: Connect Online

LinkedIn and similar tools for specific industries have become the standard way to connect with people, both after you’ve met them and even beforehand.

Most people are connected to their friends, co-workers, former co-workers, and past classmates. Successful sales and marketing professionals should use these real-world connections to their advantage when creating or leveraging relationships for prospecting.

As soon as you meet a contact in person, at a trade show, or a networking event, immediately connect with them digitally. Think of it like sending a traditional, handwritten thank you note after a job interview. That timely acknowledgment of your interaction will keep you top-of-mind and will ensure that you are now a part of their network and can follow their online activity.

While LinkedIn is probably the most widely used professional social network, don’t rule out Twitter and Facebook to help build a profile to reach your key audiences and targets.

Tinder is probably not one for toolkit… 😂

Tip #2 – Do Your Research

This should be a fairly routine practice for most of us – taking advantage of information that prospects and potential customers volunteer about themselves.

  • Which social channels do they use?
  • Who follows them?
  • Who do they follow?
  • What events do they attend?
  • Where do they speak?
  • What have they written?

Use these questions to build a profile of your contact and your target audience. You can educate yourself about the market you are addressing before you have your first conversation. While this might feel a little bit like professional stalking, think of it as prospect qualification. If you can find out this much information before a first meeting, you can determine if this contact or company is actually a right fit for your product or service while being efficient with your time and effort.

If they seem to be a fit, you will be much more prepared for future discussions by taking the time to research their activity and build a profile.

Tip #3 – Use Your Contact’s Network

Take time to review the other people in your contact’s network:

  • Understand who is in their network. Not only will this help build the profile from Tip #2, but will also give you a picture of the types of people that your contact interacts with.
  • Determine the contacts you have in common. By seeing overlapping connections, you will have people to reach out to that might know your contact and provide you with valuable insight.
  • Identify other targets that can be a potential contact for introduction. Your contact’s network can be a great place to create a prospect target list. If your contact and their organization are a good fit for what you offer, more than likely other people in their network would also be a good fit for you.

Reaching out to a 2nd-degree connection will be a step up from reaching out cold. If you can get your contact to make an introduction on your behalf, even better.

Tip #4 – Become A Content Expert

Creating content is one of the best approaches for inbound lead generation. Remember that content can come in many different forms. Your goal is to become an expert on some topic that you are familiar with or have experience in.

Generate original content. You don’t need to be a professional writer to generate great original content. They key is becoming an expert on one or two topics and sharing that knowledge to others. I recommend that you have your own website to house your thinking, so people can read about your background and identify how to get in touch with you. However, it’s also important to have your content appear in other places online. Think about becoming a guest writer for other websites. Content is king and this hasn’t changed in decades. Successful people are reading and learning all of the time, why not have them learn from you?

Interact with other people’s content. On the various social platforms, in the area of your expertise or interest, follow people, comment on posts and articles, and share content that you find valuable. By having your name associated with great content online, people will see that and view you as a thought leader or an expert in the space, or at least an enthusiast who is active in the space. This may help drive people to research you, visit your website, and get in contact with you about your products and services.

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