Many traditional sales professionals still employ a traditional approach focusing on a large quantity of leads, who they relentlessly pitch to. Yet this can be frustrating and inaccurate, leading to a fractional return for all the time spent pitching, not to mention a plethora of folks turned off by non-applicable (and from their point of view, invasive) cold calling.

However, if you specifically target quality leads with passions aligned with your own, who participate in groups and read blogs related to services you provide…..won’t you be more likely to make a sale? What if you go even further, building a trusting relationship by providing free content that’s relevant to your field and nurturing connections?

This is the principle that’s critical to social selling, wherein transforming a potential lead into a solid connection is an accomplishment that leads to continuous referrals and an expanded network.

How can you use social selling to improve your outbound sales performance? 5 Ways to Improve Outbound Sales Performance demonstrates five ways to do so:

1.       Locate every decision maker

You may be in contact with a single key decision maker in an organization, but an entire committee may be involved in a decision. Dig deep when researching, and try to connect with all influential decision makers to ensure you obtain a green light.

2.       Reach out while prospects are looking around

“57% of a typical purchase decision is made before a customer contacts the supplier,” so it’s highly advantageous to be the one influencing their decision. How? Try providing the customer with free content so they have the information they need to make the choice. They’ll trust the advice of reviews and their peers via social media when researching you, so ‘dress sharp’ and cultivate a strong professional presence.

3.       Strengthen relationships through networking

As mentioned before, consumers place huge trust in their peers. A recent statistic says 90% of them trust their peers over an unknown source. So if you want referrals, then not only do you need to relentlessly network, but you also need to cement the links between you and clients — stronger connections, stronger chain, stronger trust.

4.       Demonstrate validity and trustworthiness

Social media plays a critical role in gaining credibility; everyone uses it, and if you aren’t using it, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of social data. According to an infographic by LinkedIn, “72% of sales professionals achieved team quota”. So stay professional, use tact and remember to let connections happen organically.

5.       Continuously nurture the relationship

Don’t give up if the lead doesn’t buy right away. Keep cultivating a strong relationship, and it will pay off in the future with referrals or a purchase.

Read more: Stop Selling Me, I Want To Buy