Keeping the “Social” in Selling by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
Every good sales person has lots of tricks up his or her sleeve, using different selling tools to meet different sales situations. As sales people hone their skills, they learn more and more ways to bring the right customers to the door. One of the most successful current selling trends is social selling. This technique is not only a great way to bring in new customers, but, because of the relationships it builds, it is also a great way to ensure that you retain the customers you sell.
Social selling is all about building a relationship with a customer through social avenues. Social selling brings customers who want to buy from you,
regardless of the product you’re selling. This type of selling helps set you apart from your competition when you’re selling a product that most people need or want. It also helps to increase sales of products that are not necessities. People will choose to buy these products because of their relationship with you.
Avenues for Social Selling
There are many avenues for social selling. The first, and most important, is through your personal life. As a sales person, your personal life and work life are completely intertwined, particularly if you sell something that the general public needs or wants. As you go about your personal life, you should look at everyone as a potential customer, and be sure all of your friends and acquaintances know what you do for a living.
There is a technique for in person social selling that is very important to learn, if you want to be successful. You don’t want to be the sales person that everyone wants to avoid at the cocktail party because they dont want to be sold something. Good social selling requires you to let people know what you do, and make sure that people enjoy being around you. If you can accomplish these things, the people in your life will think of you automatically when they need or want your product. Strive for nothing more than to be the “expert” in your field for them, whether or not they are buying. Not all of your friends will buy from you at first, but if you manage your sales persona successfully, all of them will buy from you eventually, assuming you sell something they need or want.
Social media is also a great avenue for social selling. Use LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter accounts to send out helpful advice or snippets of info, but do not use it to solicit sales directly. Use these tools as a way to keep your name fresh in people’s minds, not as a way to close the deal.
Finally, remember professional networking. These events are great ways to make connections with other people. Again, this avenue is not necessarily about selling directly to the people you meet at these events. The goal is for you to pop up in their mind when someone they know needs your products. Professional networking is more about referrals than about selling directly to your network. You can probably only sell those in your network once, but if you manage the relationship correctly, you can sell to people they know indefinitely.
Social selling is not only one of the best skills a salesperson can have, it’s also one of the most fun. When you begin to take advantage of this avenue, you’ll find that you make great friends and have a renewed fervor for your career.