I must admit in the early stages of online engagement, I was a little wary of the term ‘social selling’ mainly because I didn’t understand it, and like anything, if we don’t fully understand something, then we tend to be skeptical at best, and cynical at worst.
So, as someone who had access to the early release of LinkedIn Publisher on which to post my articles and blogs, I probably didn’t use it as well as I could have, due to this ignorance. But I now believe that social selling is a serious concern and will not be going away for building business relationships any time soon, if at all.
As I work with salespeople, sales teams and leaders, then I needed to check it out for myself and test the viability of social in my own practice, so I could at least come up with something that proved a return on investment and energy, in order to walk my talk and teach and mentor.
And I found out a couple of things:
First, you DO NOT SELL with social selling.
Secondly, it is a support to your usual sales process, just like the telephone, direct mail, email and face to face conversations.
So with that in mind, I have written and am declaring my own vows and just like a romantic relationship (minus the obvious!), we need to create partnerships that ideally lasts a business lifetime, and generate the patter of lots of opportunities.
And what I found was the following:
Prepare Your Profile
Just like we make an effort and check our appearance before we go on a date, where the girls buy an outfit and have their hair and makeup done and the guys splash on some aftershave, we need to get ourselves looking respectable and attractive to others on our social media profiles, too.
If someone was to Google you, because that’s what we do now (it’s the world of the voyeur and Google is now a verb), what would someone find? Would there be a photo of you and would it be the photo you would want to represent you? Would there be a title you are known for that defines value for the person you want to connect with, or would it be a bragging title all about you. Having a title that screams ‘Top Gun For Hire’ is equivalent to a guy shouting, ‘Chick Magnet – click here!’ A bit tongue in cheek, but you know what I mean.
Are you using LinkedIn, for example, as a resume site only? Because if you are, cease and resist! People want to see the real you and what it is you do that demonstrates value for them. Once you get your profile up and running and you’re looking and feeling good about it, then it’s time to take the next vow!
Put Yourself Out There
Yes, just like dating you must put yourself in that uncomfortable and vulnerable position in order to be memorable and attractive to the person you are trying to court and woo – in business, that means be visible to potential customers and advocates. How you put yourself out there is by being real and transparent – by being courteous, by writing personal notes to connect rather than the lazy way of using LinkedIn’s template, demonstrating your intellect through your writing, your sharing nature by curating other people’s writings, your trust by not putting the hard word on them too soon (or selling), your interest in others by liking their posts, your depth in the behind the scenes private conversations, your social interaction by the groups you are part of, the forums you collaborate with and being an active giver. Who goes first? You do!
Pop the Question
If you are a giver and truly care about the person you are interested in, then you begin to ‘hear’ what they are interested in, you are able to ‘see’ what is happening in their worlds because you are following their company page or you ‘notice’ their comments and articles that interest them, and once you have created a connection that ‘feels’ right, it’s a natural progression. You ask them the question… let’s have a conversation or a coffee, or a face to face meeting.
Just like a romantic relationship, some people are waiting for this opportunity. Others will also be waiting for you to ask the question that will lead to a sales conversation and others are quite happy to remain friends. It’s OK for the question to be asked but only after there is a relationship and the timing has been appreciated.
What is critical here, if your date or prospective buyer doesn’t look like they are interested right now or in the short term, DO NOT drop them. Keep them in your loop. I am staggered how transparent and limited some people’s thinking can be. In one instance, I was 90% sure I would join a particular group and put it on hold for the short term for immediate cash flow reasons, only to realise there was no more relationship or interest in me from that point on. When I realised the courting and popping the question were all based on them, the dollar and not me, I felt cheated and as a result will I recommend or give them my business? Not likely. The trust is gone!
Pay Attention and Show Appreciation
This is where ‘Relationship 101’ comes into play. Men love to be appreciated (thanks for making me that cup of coffee honey, I really appreciated it) and women love attention (you look gorgeous in that dress). The same applies in social selling relationships. How we do this is to pay attention to the little things that make the big differences. It is the congratulations on anniversaries and birthdays, it’s endorsing those we care about and recommending those we respect, it’s connecting this one up with that one and sharing their work, it’s about being genuine and authentic.
As Coach John Wooden says ‘It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen’ and he should know. Just as the world’s oldest married couple of 87 years ‘do little things for each other to keep the romance alive’. The world is too small now for people not to think bigger.
Partners for Life
Selling is not about selling, it is about interactions that are commercial and human. Ultimately in order to get what we want from a personal and a business relationship, we must give that very thing first. If we want to be noticed by someone, we must notice that person first. If we want respect, we give that first. If we want someone’s business, we keep giving. Partnerships in business that are based on shared values are low cost and high return so why would you not say YES and commit to making this happen.
I mentioned earlier, that in order for me to write about this, it is important that I have experienced and committed to each of the above myself, and I can honestly say, this approach has not only brought me into incredible circles of influence, amazing relationships and business opportunities but new friendships aligned with my values.I cannot put a price on that, suffice to say, the ROI on all levels is amazing! Do I get it wrong sometimes? Of course.. just ask my husband 😉
I urge you to learn how to write, to detach from your ego and what others think, to have an intention of real service and in using those non-corporate words, come from a place of abundance and giving.
So for better or worse, technology has allowed us to be in this together so hook up with me here – we may as well have fun along the way!
Be Bold and Brilliant!
If you enjoyed this article then please give it a ‘thumbs up’, share on your social media platforms or ‘Follow Me’ on my LinkedIn Publisher page. As a sales leadership consultant, please let me know if I can help you, your team or your business bridge the gap between your corporate goals and revenue potential so you optimise your sales opportunities.
Image courtesy of Blek