Social selling tips for small businesses

Social selling is exactly what the name indicates – selling your products and services with the help of social networks. Irrespective of your business’ focus or size, interacting with your potential clients via social media helps you to establish and build your brand, generate and nurture new leads and build relationships. These potential clients will know about you even before they made a decision to purchase any of your services or products and when they are ready to buy, you will be already on their mind.

According to LinkedIn “Social selling is about leveraging your social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships, and ultimately, achieve your sales goals. This sales technique enables better sales lead generation and sales prospecting process and eliminates the need for cold calling. Building and maintaining relationships is easier within the network that you and your customer trust.”

Why social selling works

  1. People like working with and buying from people they like and connecting with actual people via social networks is an effective way to build long term relationships based on trust.
  2. The likelihood is that most of your potential clients are already using at least one social network, ready to hear from you and you should always be present where your potential clients are.
  3. Listening in on conversations online (also known as social listening) helps to identify who talks about your business or industry, identify new leads and see what your competitors are doing.
  4. Your potential clients share a lot about their wants, needs and pain points on social media, which helps with making your first contact with them much more personalised – and more likely to generate their interest.
  5. Building a strong network through various social media channels helps with introductions to new leads through existing mutual connections. According to LinkedIn 87 percent of B2B buyers say they would have a favourable impression of someone introduced through their professional network.
  6. LinkedIn data also shows that sales professionals with a strong social selling index (a measure based on how well salespeople build their personal brand, focus on the right prospects, engage with relevant content, and build trusted relationships) have 45 percent more sales opportunities than others.
  7. Your potential clients are likely to be already using social search to find potential companies and brands they want to buy from and would form an opinion about each of these based on what they are seeing online.  If you are not actively engaged in social selling, you are missing out.

How to make it work for you

  1. Be present and be yourself. The whole idea of social selling is to build relationships, so engage with others and be approachable.
  2. Create and share valuable content that is relevant to your potential clients. Don’t push your own products and services, focus on content that adds value to your readers and link back to your business where relevant.
  3. Build strong social profiles that show up in searches when your prospects are looking for services or products in your industry. Think about how your prospects are searching, what keywords would they use and what would make them stop looking elsewhere.
  4. Ask for introductions through mutual contacts before you contact potential clients via social networks. Use the information that you have learnt from their social profiles and activities and use it to personalise your message to them.
  5. Offer introductions to others – even if it has nothing to do with what you do, help others to make valuable connections and they are likely to return the favour.
  6. Keep in touch with your contacts, re-share, like or comment on their posts to show that you are listening to what they have to say. Also pay attention to notifications about role changes, anniversaries or if they are asking for advice or help.
  7. Establish yourself as a go-to-person in your field and industry and you will increase your chances that they will come to you when they are ready to buy.

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