Category Archives: Social Selling

Have you created a customer journey map?

How do you measure success? Is it by how much more you make from one year to the next? Unfortunately, that’s a too-limiting view of business achievement — but it’s one that many companies rely on. What if instead you focused on a different measure — say, how customers felt about their journey with your company?

In fact, if you’re not thinking through the steps on that customer journey then you might be letting customers slip through your fingers before they have a chance to repeat sales, and those can be the most valuable kinds of customers ever—the ones with a relationship, not just a sale.

That journey, of course, isn’t just the sale — it’s all those points from awareness to sale to post-sale. And along those points, you can provide very different pieces of marketing in order to deepen that relationship. How do you do that? This graphic can help.

Customer Journey Maps: How to Guide Your Leads to Customers

How to Effectively Respond to Sales Objections

Sales isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would do it, and every customer would buy everything you wanted them to.

In reality, though, there are objections that you have to respond to, and if you don’t do it well, you’ll lose not only the sale, but momentum for sales in general.

For starters, instantly dismissing customer concerns isn’t the right path to take. Work harder on understanding and sincerely reaction to their points. You’ll also have to find out what would convince them of the sale, and learn how to build points around that.

Interested in more effective ways to work through sales objections? Use this graphic.

 How to Effectively Respond to Sales Objections

Via Salesforce

3 Ways to Grow Your Pipeline Through Social Selling

Off the bat, you may think of “social selling” as an outward action—where a salesperson reactively reaches out or responds to a target audience through social media to direct traffic.

Social selling, however, also includes proactive, gathering of information and behind-the-scenes work to create better qualified leads and increase traffic flow.

Using the three approaches we highlight below, you can put social selling to work and see significant growth to your sales pipeline.

Brand Yourself, and Suit Up
Remember when we were #hashtag crazy? In the early days of social media, hashtags were the key to getting found. We hashtagged every noun we thought was vital to our brand identity, and waited for someone to grab our hook. To be honest, social selling then was the equivalent of a sandwich board and a megaphone versus a good suit today. Social listening has evolved into something more refined, and social algorithms have advanced to now mute overly-spammy social “voices”. If the technology has evolved, it’s usually a sign that user behavior has evolved as well. In social media, it’s no longer about shouting to be heard, but instead, using your brand’s identity to develop the right audience through consistency.

When establishing yourself on social media, put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. Think about your market positioning, and what makes you stand out from the rest that your audience will find compelling. Look at your website traffic to get an idea of what’s already bringing your audience to you, and echo your website’s best-performing keywords on social to grab the same audience. Create your social media bios and populate your scheduled content with the terminology that’s true to your brand. By putting the megaphone aside and using technology to build an audience intelligently, you’ll actively create an audience that contains a higher percentage of qualified leads.

Find Your Audience
There are a few different tools out there to help you develop your social audience. You can use technology to find your existing customer base on social media and engage with and repost their content to tap their compatible networks and grow your own.

Match a social audience to your primary market brand persona through keyword matching and geographic location. Use the identifiers that you associate with your market segments, and run searches or combine with social listening to find similar social media accounts.

Follow relevant accounts, and create public and private lists to positively and helpfully segment your audience on social.

Actively Market
If you’re at a party and want to have a great conversation, you don’t just mutely stand next to someone—and so many brands repeatedly make this error.

Once you’ve connected with your audience, actively engage with them to develop the relationship. Comment on their own content, give it a positive rating, and/or repost it. I often get followed on social media by businesses that don’t ever engage, and I never really know if they were interested in my services, or if they wanted me to be interested in theirs! Awkward.

Automate the cadence of your social content using free or enterprise scheduling tools, and once you’ve engaged, connected with, and collected email addresses for your social network, automate the connection process using email tracking.

Automation sets the pace for your content, and lets your audience anticipate when they will hear from you. By learning when to connect with your audience, you’ll develop trustworthiness with your audience, and leads will become better qualified.

How Long Does It Take?
You can begin developing your online presence and building a social network today. Within the next 2 weeks, you can automate a steady stream of content, and engage with your audience. By the end of the first month, you’ll have established a voice and consistency. Within the first three months, you should be developing regular, better qualified leads that are regularly feeding into your pipeline.

On Social Selling

For as long as there have been buyers and sellers, selling has revolved around relationships: who you know.

There are, however, new challenges. Your prospects and customers are busier than ever, actively ignoring and blocking your marketing messages. They’re resistant and resentful when being “sold to.” And they have unlimited access to information about you, your company, your products, and those of your competition. What’s more, they’re turning to people they know, like, and trust to educate themselves, diagnose problems, and, ultimately, make a buying decision.

In a recent Forrester survey, 74% of business buyers said they conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase. These invisible sales stages, in which buyers initiate the selling process without calling on sales, gives them tremendous freedom to browse, learn, and compare without influence from sales. This online sales cycle is happening more and more frequently on social media: blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others, and has given rise to “social selling.”

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The concept of social selling is a response to these fundamental changes in customer behavior and in customers’ buying processes. It’s also about directly engaging prospects on their terms, as well as learning their marketing, buying, and communication preferences. Just think about all the social media updates people make everyday. They are telling us their wants, needs, and frustrations.

With social referrals becoming increasingly crucial to the buyer’s online research process, and buyers almost expecting to be sold to on their terms, if you’re not social selling, you’re a dinosaur. Think about it – we’ve gone from selling features and benefits, to selling on value, to selling solutions, and have now reached the pinnacle with selling to specific needs at specific times.

But social selling doesn’t replace the old way of doing business. It just makes selling easier. For example, marketing departments can trigger the release of email communication based on visits to specific pages on their website, and sales can provide pre- and post-sale service via social media.

Jay Abraham once said, “People are silently begging to be led. They are crying out to know more about a business’ product or service. When you educate your customers, you’ll see your profits soar.”

So practice social selling and meet your customers online, interact with them on social media and give them the information they want, and watch your sales grow!

How to Feed Your Sales Funnel with Social Media

Social media is an essential tool in the consultative selling process. However, it is important to recognize that social media is not, by its nature, a business tool. The primary purpose of social media is to facilitate social interactions. The entire medium is designed around this premise.

At first glance, this may seem like a deterrent. If you look more closely, you’ll see that the nature of social media makes it a perfect complement to your consultative selling process. Your end goal is to find people who need your services. Providing those services requires interaction. Your start goal is to prove to people that your interactions-and therefore your services-are valuable. You do this by interacting with them and social media gives you the opportunity to do so.

How do you keep the premise of social media in mind while you actively prospect for new clients? You get back to the basics. Think about how you use social media in your personal life. You make friends and acquire followers. You comment, chat, and IM. Now, you’ve just got to apply what you know within the sphere of your business operations.

Put a professional spin on your personal social media activities:

First, set a goal to make X new contacts each day. Interact with them. Ask them questions. Listen to their answers. And, if the opportunity arises, feed them the link that will direct them to your sales process. (Note: If you don’t have a link to feed them, then you’re doing things out of order. You need a sales funnel to feed people into in order to use social media effectively.)

Second, interact with your current friends and followers. You have accumulated people and businesses (whose accounts are managed by people) who are interested in your business. Pick X of your friends and followers each day and interact with them one on one. Check out their feeds. Comment on their posts. Retweet the best of what they have to offer. And, if the opportunity arises, feed them your link.

You don’t create opportunities to feed prospects into your consultative selling process using social media. You find them. So, start looking and start listening. If you want to use social media as an organic part of your consultative selling process, then you need to listen to what people are saying and respond appropriately. To do the latter, you have to start with the former.

Few people are good at listening. It’s something most of us have to work on. We get caught up in our own heads, thinking about what we’ll say next, looking for that golden opportunity to hook our prospect, thinking about what’s for dinner, remembering what our boss said or our upcoming anniversary or our overflowing in-box, thinking until we’re so busy trying to remember what to say next that we couldn’t possibly

Wait, what were you saying?

So, yes, listening is hard, but it’s also effective. You see, most people who are on social media, including the people you’re trying to reach, are there for their own self-interested reasons. The fact is that you are, too. You’re not looking for products or services to buy. If you were, you’d go out and find what you wanted.

If you want to get others’ attention and if you want to learn what it will take to get them interested in your services, then you start by giving them your attention. They’re there because they want to be heard. So, listen! If you listen long enough, they’ll tell you what you need to know to reach them.

Marketing and selling, at its most ideal, is an act of pure service. You are serving your customers by providing them with the information they need to get what they want. In order to know what they want and why, specifically, they would want your services, you have to listen to them.

Listening is the key because, when that golden opportunity arises, you’ll hear it and you’ll be ready and able to respond: “I have a solution to that!” or “I know what you need!” or “Have you ever tried..?” But if you’re not listening, you’ll miss it. And the moment will pass.