Although B2B selling has always been a social process, the growing popularity of networking sites and blogging is altering the way in which our clients expect us to communicate with them. The good news for the old pros is that the concept "social selling" isn't a break from traditional selling methods, but is rather, an evolutionary step forward. In this post we'll explore what social selling actually is, and how it can be used to improve customer relationships and nourish leads. What is Social Selling? Traditionally, B2B selling has revolved around WHO you know, through networking, establishing rapport, and leveraging existing relationships. Social selling, however, puts an emphasis on WHAT you know. Today's B2B customers are socially empowered and extremely informed decision makers, and they expect the same from sellers. By listening and relating to target audiences through various social mediums, the savvy salesperson will find himself better equipped to understand and meet his clients needs. In short, social selling takes advantage of social platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs in order to find potential customers, learn about them, and engage them. With this information, a salesperson can find success in moving the process forward via e-mail or in-person, where appropriate. Tips for Successful Social Selling
- Listen - The most important part of B2B social selling involves monitoring what is being said by prospective customers. By mapping out organizational relationships and gathering feedback you can learn which decision makers to include in your opportunity profiling, and identify shared contacts you can leverage for referrals or introductions, and which messages are most likely to get the best response.
- Relate- One of the biggest perks of social media in B2B social selling is that it allows sellers to truly get to know their customers. When you take the time to learn about your client's interests and beliefs, cold calls can be turned into warm introductions. This is extremely advantageous in B2B selling, as customers tend to buy from salespeople that they can relate to, rather than from impersonal drones.
- Engage - B2B Social selling enables you to stay on top of all of your opportunities and become aware of trigger events without the need for those irritating and annoying 'follow-up' calls. As opportunities for engagement present themselves, you can reach out to your customers through social media or another channel of your choice.