Social Selling in 5 Minutes
“Break through the noise” is the newest catchphrase in Sales departments, but while Sales Leaders want you to make your message standout, what they really mean is get creative. What isn’t spoken is the obvious fact leading to this need to stand out: buyers have more options than ever while simultaneously being flooded with more attempts to grab their attention than they can honestly handle. So it’s up to you, the seller, to get crafty. And that’s where Social Selling comes in.
Social selling is much simpler than its reputation portrays. With all the LinkedIn training available, plus the numerous 3rd party social selling companies offering training, mastering this new communication strategy can seem overwhelming. And while it's becoming the newest, and nearly expected, form of literacy within Sales organizations as it gains traction — it doesn't take long to become effective — nor does it require knowing the full product suite of LinkedIn.
Here’s my definition: social selling is finding actionable information related to a prospect/company that is relevant to your value proposition, and most importantly, initiates and/or accelerates engagement and rapport building.
It's that simple.
In my opinion, and in the way I sell, the end goal of a “social selling touch” is to (1) set a new meeting, (2) get a referral to the person you wish to contact, or (3) build credibility — in no particular order. The key to being effective is not always getting exactly what you want when you want it, but any response, for even a quick “no” saves time and money for any sales professional. I’ll break them down a bit further:
Setting a new meeting — this one is most obvious. It’s what SDRs live and breathe, what reps live for, and what Sales Leaders love seeing (and hearing). First, or Net New, Meetings are the lifeblood of every hunter’s pipeline and the foundation of success for every closer.
There’s no shame in asking who the right person is, though some would argue you should already know via LinkedIn. But if your product needs that special someone — the person in charge of webinar events, evaluating sales enablement tools, or putting pen to paper for every key purchase — sometimes if helps to triangulate that person to ensure your outreach is landing on that ideal contact.
Building credibility — I loop this in with “accelerating deals” because that’s an outcome of becoming credible in the eyes of your buyer. If you see a prospect post an article, give it a quick read with a sweet comment letting them know that not only did you read and enjoy their post, but you’re smart enough to give some insight into how it pertains to them. The more they trust you, the faster they’ll move, and they’ll even push back less since they’ll view you as a consultant.
Three tools for social selling:
First is LinkedIn. If you don’t have their Sales Navigator, get it. It’s the base for all my social selling. It’s a fantastic software and the best for locating target prospects, but it really only tells us what they're current responsibilities are in their current/past roles, shared connections, and their collegiate alma mater. It tells us who to contact but rarely the how to engage. It provides relative topics and talking points regarding their interests and focuses that can be leveraged to initiate a conversation, and hopefully, a two-way relationship.
Something else to remember when using LinkedIn — EVERYONE is using it. So if this is your only source of information on prospects, then congrats, you're no different than every other rep using LinkedIn to blast prospects with crap like "I see we both follow Larry Ellison…” No shit, most people do.
Next up is Twitter, my personal favorite. Most peoples’ Twitter feeds are loaded with both professional and personal posts ranging from their company’s new product offering and recent corporate events, to their thoughts on current events/news, to their favorite sports teams and hobbies. These are the best feeds of information as an outsider looking in and should be treated as such. Take time here to find relevant information, tie it into your ask creatively, then make your outreach entertaining to read and relevant to them. This is how we come full circle, combining our foundational LinkedIn info to more useful and personal content from our prospect.
Lastly, we have news articles, or content. This isn’t so much a specific “tool” so much as an aid, per se. This is our why we reached out. This might be their personal blog, an interview they’re mentioned in, an article featuring them, or simply something that you know pertains to them. It’s win-win because you’re always in the know about current events in your space, and you get to leverage this knowledge for your own benefit.
Between LinkedIn, Twitter, and relevant content, the rest is up to you. Use your personal flavor to come full circle with a detailed and personal message. Deliver a message that can’t be ignored. Basically, be the the cool rep, the prepared rep that’s hard to say no to. Before long, you’ll find your responses will be more frequent and with a tone of insight and sincerity not commonly offered over the first exchange.
Lastly, be weary of when you turn on the “sell” switch and start pitching directly. The fastest way to become a corporate social leper is to blatantly pitch your product prior to your audience’s consent. Social forums like LinkedIn (not including InMail), Twitter feeds, and comment sections for articles are not the environment to deliver your value prop. Instead, offer [relatively] unbiased opinions or thought leadership instead that justify your ask for their time and attention.