Social selling has become quite the buzz word of late. Think of direct selling (and all the processes related to it) but just online on social platforms. Social selling has been allowing salespeople to zero in on their prospects, build a rapport and relationship with customers, offer advice and close deals without the dread of cold calling.
What is Social Selling?
Gone are the days when a customer would solely depend on the salesperson for product information. The modern-day has brought with it social media platforms, online review communities and even discussion boards across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Quora, Google Reviews et cetera. Consumers have learned to look up information and be more informed than ever. This is where marketers step in with social selling. As consumers seek information online, sellers pitch to educate the masses using these very social platforms.
If your company has a business page on social media platforms or a business account on review sites then you are already engaged in and aware of the basics of brand awareness and social selling. Social selling isn’t the same as spamming your potential customers. Social selling is more about gaining information about your audience and educating them about your product in turn. It encompasses attributes of gaining access to the contact information of your audience, building a relationship with them, educating, promoting and advising the right buy after understanding and appropriately judging their interests.
Social Buying and Social Selling
If you are still wondering why your brand should care about social selling and how best to go about it, you may want to consider the fact that most of your competitors are already there. Also, any sales member would tell you that no one likes cold calling nor do consumers like being pestered with calls about a product they’re not interested in.
Social media management tools like social listening help your salesmen to track topics of interests and hence discover new leads. Understanding the interests and activities of a potential customer makes it easier for the salesperson to converse with them, build a relationship and convert a lead.
Secondly, in the 21st century, almost every other person is active online. Everyone is aware of e-commerce and they look up and discuss the products they want to buy. Besides the regular pre-purchase information-gathering, people also share their post-purchase experiences. In a world where social buying is already flourishing, why would one hesitate to sell? Social media platforms are practically an entire package. They provide you with the platform to advertise on, promote, sell or educate people before they purchase, helping them to gather insights from post-purchase reviews and so on. Social selling is essentially the entire business process under a single umbrella.
Best Ways to do Social Selling
Social selling is no different than your traditional selling. It is only a smarter way to do it.
A Strong Social Selling Team
Like we pointed out earlier, no salesperson really likes cold calling and hounding customers. In fact, a recent report by CSO insights and Seismic stated that access to social selling tools like social listening, social engagement et cetera lowered the sell-cycle time and increased the conversion rates for B2B professionals. Powering your sales team with social media tools helps them gain insights into the persona of your target audience and personalize the pitch.
Imagine being really interested in a product and wanting to know more about it. Your sales guide is a robot who only responds with very basic information. It has no personal recommendations, no casual relationship building capabilities and no sense of offering a human touch at all. Honestly, you wouldn’t feel the company is making a great effort to sell to you. You won’t feel like a particularly valued customer.
This is exactly the case when you employ social bots to engage and chat with your customers. Have a team to respond to your customers and ensure that the team is vigilant. 40% of millennials expect a response within 1 hour after they have posted a query.
Social Listening and Monitoring
Social monitoring and social listening are the two crucial tools to successful lead conversion. The first thing before you try your hand at social selling is to try and know more and more about your target audience. Customer insights are key to successful campaigns, advertisement, promotion, and the resultant personalized sales pitch. Social listening is essential even after sales. Tune in to listen to what the customers are talking about you, their recommendations, their pain points and try to reach out to them where necessary.
In the world of web 2.0, online marketplaces are abundant. Building a strong relationship with your audience has never been easier. It is the best time to capitalize on this and start your journey with social selling.