Social selling is a hot buzzword being thrown around today. What is social selling and how do tomorrow’s top sales people use social selling to become top performers?
Social selling is not just about starting the sales process with social tools like Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter. Social selling is about sales people building a strong personal brand. It is about understanding the role of content and how content can be used to tell a powerful and emotional story. And it is about growing your social connections.
I even predicted that social, content and personal branding would drive the future of business in 2013.
What is Social Selling?
To me, social selling is simply the process of helping social buyers become customers. We are still trying to get our potential customers to know, like and trust us. In order to do this, sales people need to learn new ways to reach prospects through their own social networks, to create and share valuable content and ultimately, to grow their personal brand.
Social Selling is an extension of the Social Business imperative. Social Businesses are transforming their view of the world and their entire operation from an inward focus to a customer focus. Empathy is the key ingredient to the success of business in this increasingly social world.
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What is Personal Branding?
To get the best answer, I turned to personal branding expert Dan Schawbel. Dan defines personal branding as:
Those characteristics that make you unique and how you communicate that to the world. The objective of personal branding is professional success and is directly linked to the success of the company we serve.
Personal branding means you are not wasting your time because you are on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin during company time. It means that your time spent on social networks is helping you to find and nurture your next customers and grow the business.
Social + Content = Personal Branding Success
To be successful in social selling, sales people need to build a strong personal brand. This starts with putting a stop to the overly-promotional content marketing echo chamber. It means our sales people start to grow strong social connections and become effective storytellers. It means they start to pay attention to the factors that help them raise their social influence on platforms like Klout.
5 Steps To Social Selling Success
Social selling success is comprised of both making new connections and sharing great content. You start by identifying your target audience and connecting with their network of influencers. With content, you seek to surround your target audience and those who influence them with content they want to consume.
Social selling success does not need to take hours a day. You can find time for social media by cutting out activities that do not grow help you help your social network. Recently I was asked by one of our sales leaders to define a “day in the life” of a successful social sales person. Here’s my 5 steps to social selling success:
- Define and “touch” key influencers in your space. Set a goal to engage with a certain number of influencers every day. Create an influencer twitter list, subscribe to their blog or company RSS feeds, comment on and share influencer blogs. Use social platforms to “talk” to your connections. Ask questions like “can you recommend the best websites you go to for helpful information? Or what conferences are you attending this year?
- Add new connections. Set a goal of adding a specific number of connections every day. On Linkedin, always use personalized email introductions based on something personal. Use Klout to tell you who influences your target and their influencers
- Check your social inbox: Twitter mentions, Linkedin, RSS feeds.
- Add RSS feeds to email you share-able content for your network. Go here for a full list.
- Share at least one story from the sources above with your network on Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.