My HYPOTHESIS is that the best social sellers have the best luck on Match.com. This luck likely extends to OKCupid and other dating sites. Great first-daters know how to prepare, listen and have a conversation with their dates.
Let me qualify success or “conversion” when it comes to Match.com. Getting to the next part of the (sales) “funnel of love” is the second date! You can’t get to the second date unless you have a great time on the first date. And, the first date is all about having a great conversation! How do you increase your odds of having a great date with a great conversation? You have to prepare with little pre-date investigation so you “go in” with several conversation starters and not left to fumble with conversation about the weather!
The first date sounds a lot like a first sales call, right? If you have ever engaged in one of my social selling workshops, then you know how I always draw the analogy of dating and selling! It’s a natural two-some! Social selling tries to provide the customer with the right conversation and content to say “yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!” in a more authentic way though than presented by Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.
It’s important for today’s sellers to use social selling listening techniques to get in the door and have a great conversation with their customers. Great conversations show that you listen, understand and can engage with the needs of the customer. If you don’t ask to get married on the first date, then don’t jump into the sales pitch on the first sales contact! 75% say that B2B companies were too heavy-handed with the sales messaging in their content, according to the 2012 DemandGen Report “Content Preferences Survey”. So have a conversation first and then ease into the sale!
4 Places To Find Social Selling Conversation Starters
CSO Insights research shows that 42% of salespeople don’t feel like they have the right information before connecting with prospects. What’s a cure for this unpreparedness that does not involve dating your prospect? Check out four places to listen and be better prepared for your social selling activity, than if you did not prepare:
- Company-driven social activity. It makes great sense to stay on top of customer activity. Google alerts and LinkedIn are two great sources to find company-driven news and activity. This type of high-level insight only goes so deep, but it’s a great start to jump start the conversation. But if your conversation starts, “I read about what you are doing in the Wall Street Journal”, then it is likely the same conversation that your competition had with your customer.
- Consumer-driven sentiment around the company. There are social selling sales triggers in consumer-driven sentiment around pricing, customer service and other categories. Tools, like NetBase, help social sellers “get under the hood” to facilitate a deeper conversation with their customers. Are customers really talking about companies with whom they are doing business? Yes! Dimensional Research reports that 45% of people say they share bad customer service experiences via Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.
- Consumer-driven sentiment around the company’s industry. Understanding the buzz around a company’s industry can help provide context for deeper conversation with a company. Perhaps an industry is thriving, but the company is not? Combining industry insight and consumer-driven insight can help a social selling executive have a smart conversation to continue a company’s positive position or to correct a bad position. Tools like HootSuite and Flipboard can easily help identify industry trends to provide social selling conversations conversation starters.
- Company stakeholder social media activity. Researching and listening to an individual or team of decision makers is always a great idea. With 81% of decision makers using blogs and communities, 74% using LinkedIn and 41% using Twitter, reported by Forrester, it is very easy to listen and triangulate the conversation. Again, tools like HootSuite and Flipboard make this type of individual listening easy to do!
Do you have another way that you prepare and create conversation starters for your first contact or first meeting? If so, please share below.