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Monday, November 11, 2013

10 Things You Should Know About Social Selling

Social Selling is a HOT item right now.  I'm speaking in a session at Dreamforce next week on this very topic,  it's definitely something sales teams are looking to crack the code on.

You might ask "What IS Social Selling?" and if it even applies to you at all.  Many sales professionals think it is for tech sales reps, or a term for Millennials in sales, or for people that have Twitter accounts with 20K followers.  But that's isn't true at all, also...the principles behind it have been around a lot longer than Facebook and Twitter.

The principles behind Social Selling can be summed up by just being yourself, be a peer that is informed, not distant or disconnected from your prospect.  It's all about engagement, active engagement. Take off the sales persona, and connect with your prospects at a deeper level so they want to engage in return. When you add value by learning about them, prospects reciprocate because you invested in having a quality interaction.

Here's an example, 15 years ago you would meet with a prospect in their office and what did you see around their office?  Awards, Degrees, pictures of their family, vacations, accomplishments, books on a shelf....maybe they collect artifacts, have a nifty sword hanging on the wall, and a plethora of other things that told you about them as a professional and as a person.  Did you sometimes look at those and think..."hey I went to that school too" or "I've read that book" or obtained some insight into their interests based on what they surround themselves with.  Did you then make connections with things and people you knew to connect the dots for a better understanding of how to work with them?  If you were actively engaged at that time, you did just that. 

15 years ago, people that only cared about closing the deal and couldn't care less about their prospects went into a meeting, ignored the 25 items in the room around them they could mention and missed out on connecting on a whole new level. The equivalent today of calling a prospect without a clue of who they are.

Today meetings and calls are remote, we often aren't in their offices.  But that "virtual personal space" is all around us.  Did you look your prospect up on LinkedIn before the call?  Did you look at other social networks to see what you could learn about them?  Did you put some thought into what you discovered to paint a bigger picture of who they are and what their vantage point may be?  Have they done reviews, belong to industry groups, interact with peers online?  

Just like the rep that was in the same room with a prospect and picked up on the rich source of information all around them, reps today have even more access to information about their prospects and don't want to miss out on that. 

10 Things You Should Know About Social Selling:
  1. You don't need to be a power user of social networks to be effective with social selling, you just need to know how to find the right information.
  2. Social Selling prep doesn't need to be more than 15 minutes
  3. You can automate information in the public domain to be served to you, tools like Squirro, data.com, Google Alerts, InsideView all have features to send updates to you
  4. What your prospects disclose is valuable, what they don't also has meaning. Are they conservative? Late adopters? Is risk mitigation more important than being the first one on the block to have something?
  5. Connect with your prospects on LinkedIn and share valuable content with them
  6. Do mention industry accolades your prospects have received, they worked hard for those--let them know you took the time to discover them
  7. Don't wait for your company to put a process in place, learn this--it's your income that is impacted
  8. Social Selling is not the job of Marketing, it improves front line communication with prospects
  9. Social Selling starts before the first call, and extends into the Account Management stage of the relationship
  10. Social Selling isn't just for sales, anyone dealing with prospects and clients (Marketing, Exec Management, etc.)  should take a pulse on what is happening with them if they are meeting with them.  It makes for stronger relationships at every stage.
If you are going to Dreamforce, catch the session on Social Selling and learn even more to build the case for yourself!