Why Social Selling Is the Future of Selling
I'm sure you've heard the term "social selling" – even if you're not entirely sure what it means. Look it up online, and you'll find some zillion different definitions, descriptions and statistics on why it works and even some on why it doesn't. I happen to be firmly in the camp of believing wholeheartedly in the value of social selling, and I'm going to explain why.
What's the definition of social selling?
Social selling uses social networks and other digital channels to identify, connect with, nurture and engage potential prospects by establishing trust and rapport through regular communication. In many ways, it's the same work sales professionals have historically done in person and over the phone. The goal is the same: develop meaningful relationships with potential clients that place the salesperson and company top of mind, so you can be the first point of contact when a prospect is ready to buy.
Why does it work?
I'm not going to make my argument by convincing you that cold calling is dead (though it mostly is). My argument is predicated on the belief that people buy from people they know and trust, and whom they believe has the knowledge and solutions to solve their problems. Social selling in many ways serves as a subliminal brand awareness campaign. Always there. Positioning the salesperson, company and product as the obvious choice for when the time is right.
More importantly, clients are already engaging in social buying (therefore, companies should be social selling). And it's not just the endless statistics that bear this out. I know this to be true, because I'm in the C-Suite, and that's how I buy. I don't Google to find a potential vendor. I turn to my social networks.
For nearly every market category for which I might need to make a purchase or decision, I'm connected to someone who's demonstrated their expertise to me and was referred by someone I trust. That's where I'm going to turn first. And yes, I'm likely to do some research and ask for opinions, but only from people I trust. My guess is that those salespeople who have been engaged in social selling are likely to be the names that routinely rise to the top of the list.
How are you currently identifying potential business partners? Google? Cold calls? Or are you more likely getting referrals from your trusted networks? If it's the latter, you best make sure your salesforce understands this and is positioning themselves accordingly in their own efforts.
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