Sales are not often traditionally thought of as a social process. But the behavior of the modern customer is changing. Customers today can increasingly be described as “social customers,” prompting the contemporary sales organization and even the individual salesperson to rethink how they sell. And that can be daunting for many reasons.
The implications for salespeople are significant. They have to understand that generating leads, managing opportunities and closing deals need fresh approaches and skills in utilizing tools that help enrich customer insights.
Whether it’s a B2B or B2C sale, the customer is expecting you, the salesperson and your company, to know them and what they want. That means that sales intelligence and engaging in the social networks your customer participates in is important.
Here are 5 tips to begin your Social Selling initiative:
EVALUATE WHAT YOU’RE DOING
Many people on your team probably already use social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and others. Take stock of how you’re currently connecting with and listening to customers, and see what seems to be working. Where are you successfully engaging and building relationships with prospects and customers?
START BY LISTENING
Just as you wouldn’t run into a cocktail party and start shoving your business card under everyone’s nose, don’t jump on Twitter and start jabbering about your business. Instead, listen to what your target market is saying. Get a sense for who your customers’ mouthpieces are and their communication and interaction styles.
Create a way for your team members to share information internally. So if at a trade show your marketing manager meets a prospect who loves to ride horses, that information can be shared and used to strengthen ties during follow-up calls.
COMMIT TO THE PROCESS
Building relationships online is not something you can do all at once. Realize you may not see the payoff right away, and commit for six months before you evaluate your efforts.