One of my favorite things to say when it comes to sales is, “Nothing has changed. It’s just different.” This is why I love social selling. It’s the same activities that we have always done to build relationships and seek opportunities. It just happens on computer screens and in social media accounts than in real life.
Those of you that are older should know what I mean by this. Those of you that have grown up on the Internet may not know what I mean because you have been using web-based channels to build relationships every since you can remember.
I read a lot on social selling and see a lot of the same data. I use the data all the time too. Recent data that SAP shared after a 5 ½ year social selling implementation should be sufficient rationale for anyone to start a social selling program for their sales team, right now!
First, they used the term social seller vs. non-social seller for their own sales team. They used a LinkedIn SSI score as a benchmark to classify social sellers vs non-social sellers.
They found social sellers were 90% more likely to meet or exceed their quotas. They also found that social sellers had a 300% larger deal size than non-social sellers. Wow! A team of sales reps who are 90% more likely to meet or exceed their quotas and have an average deal size that is 300% larger than their counterparts. I want that! Who wouldn’t? Don’t you?
Here are 5 reasons why I believe any company or salesperson should adopt social selling activities in their daily routine immediately.
Buyers Research on Social Media Before Making a Buying Decision
Research shows that 72% of buyers use social media to research before buying. And, 92% of buyers engage with salespeople who they believe are thought leaders in their industry. What does this mean for sales reps? Buyers are looking for thought leaders on social media to help them with research. According to Forrester Research, 74% of buyers purchased from the 1st sales rep that added value to their research.
What does this all mean? Buyers are looking for information so they can research. They are not looking for sales reps. But, when the sales rep is the source of valuable information, they are seen as thought leaders and more likely to get the deal.
Most People Don’t Answer Cold Calls
A study by Harvard Business Review found that 90% of people never respond to a cold call. If prospects who don’t know you are NOT answering cold calls (or cold emails) then how are they finding new information? See #1 above. Want to make this information even worse? Only 4% of buyers said that they had a favorable view of sales reps who did a cold outreach.
Your company and all your sales team MUST be consistently present in social news feed because cold outreach is just not working.
Peer Recommendations Drive Decisions
P2P (peer-to-peer) narrative is more important now than ever before. It is important because it is easy to access. Go online, ask your peers a question in public and learn. Conversations are plenty.. A 2013 LinkedIN study discovered that 53% of buyers said their peer network influenced their buying decision.
That was compared to only 19% the previous year (same study). I have not been able to find any new data on peer influence, however, logic says that peer input has more and more influence.
Take this as an example. I called it Crowdsource Search vs Google Search.
Let’s pretend you are tasked with finding a new database provider. Your team has created a new persona as the best prospect and your company is interested in an online and offline drip campaign to socialize your company message prior to a big conference. Your current vendor does a great job of providing an email database with titles and company sizes. But, you want a physical address to do a direct mail campaign to coincide with your email drip campaign.
You realize that you don’t know any database companies that offer physical addresses, it’s time to do some research. You have two options! First, you can Google It. But, that takes time. You need to think about the right search terms, find results, click, read and learn if they offer what you really need.
Or, you have Option Two! Go to your social media accounts and ask your friends who they know and who they recommend. I call it Crowdsource Your Search.
If you have spent time creating a network of connections and friends, you most likely have friends who know people and friends who have done research. Tap into them and see who they know and who they recommend.
When the man who mowed our lawn for us retired, this is exactly what my wife did. She asked who other’s recommended and posted it into a private FB group for our community. Then, she left for the day and did her errands. About four hours later, when she returned home and check Facebook, she had over 25 recommendations, a couple f direct messages and she scheduled a highly recommended company who currently maintained yards for several of our neighbors.
Her time to research was minimal because she engaged her network and they did replace her search efforts with recommendations, comments and time-saving introductions to highly recommended service providers.
Building Relationships Is Still The Only Way to Influential
I learned two life-changing things early in my career. First, the only way to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it (How to Win Friends and Influence People).
Second, which I learned from Zig Ziglar, if you help enough people get what they way, you will get everything that you want. What do these mean? It means being influential, meeting your quotas and accomplishing your goals is all about helping others to reach their goals. When you leverage online communities like social media, you can accomplish these faster, wider and with greater impact than offline only.
Social Selling Activities are a 24-hour Networking Event
Nothing has changed. It’s just different! That means that salespeople still need to build massive networks of relationships. The more of the right people that know them, the more likely they have a full pipeline. When people know them and know their value proposition, they are more likely to be referred and called upon when needs arise.
Social Selling activities are an extremely efficient method to grow your network of best prospects. Plus, it is efficient way to meet, know and be known by 1,000’s and 1,000’s of people who can refer you to their friends who need your services. I will always remember the first time that I learned the saying, “it’s not who you know but who knows you that makes a difference in a quality pipeline.” It is still true today and social selling activities are the most efficient method to grow and be known by 1,000’s of professionals daily!
Social Selling does not need to be difficult. It is just selling. Selling starts with building relationships. When you look at any social activities, whether you call it brand building or social selling, it is all just relationship building. Remember that there are people on the other end of the screen. Real people. Build relationships with them just as you would if they were sitting next to you.