In a nutshell, Social Selling is using the social sites for prospecting and lead generation.
The sale itself may not take place on the site although expect the ‘buy’ buttons to roll out soon. There are rumours Twitter is nearly there with their ‘buy’ button and we already know Facebook is testing their buy button on a select number of U.S. brand pages.
Until then, the social sites are a part of the relationship building you have with prospects, the courtship if you like, before the sale itself.
Social Site Maturity
While the social sites are beginning to mature, user behaviour is also evolving. In the early years, social sites were predominantly for connecting with friends however, now they’re used to consume news, research new products, source referrals, and make useful business connections.
In recent years, it was enough for brands to have a social site presence, interacting with consumers in real-time, to give them a competitive edge. Now, there’s much more to it with 70% of the buying cycle completed online
What it means is, your prospect, before ever interacting with a sales person, has completed most of his buying research online. If you’re lucky enough to get the sales query, it’s because you’ve made it into his final list of potential suppliers.
Social selling is not a place for the hard-sell, so put those traditional tactics to one side when targeting online consumers. Instead, concentrate on how to help the consumer during his buying process. Think about it, if you’re putting content out there that answers the questions he has, you’re more likely to be considered as an authority on the subject, therefore more credible and in turn reliable –and reliability is hugely important to online consumers.
To be successful with social selling requires a shift in culture; it’s a new way of targeting consumers. It takes time, perseverance and a sales team coached in this new way of selling before you’ll see results. For some brands the culture shift is too big, they run out of steam quickly, and you’ll hear them say, “it doesn’t work.”
The thing is, consumers have changed the way they research and buy, and brands choosing to ignore it by sticking their head in the sand are putting their business at risk. However, the brands who are integrating social selling into their overall selling processes are discovering new opportunities, strengthening relationships during the pre-selling process, and reaping the benefits.
Isn’t it time you embraced social selling?
To your online success!
p.s. feel free to add any comments you have regarding social selling, I’d love to hear them.
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