The first step of social selling is to find warm leads by listening to buying signals on the social web. Tools like Socedo, HootSuite or Google Alerts can make it easy to find relevant prospects at the exact moment they have a need for your product or service. The next step is to connect with them so you can land the sale. This post will describe strategies and tactics to help you effectively navigate through the second step of social selling.
First, we need to be aware of one of the key differences between traditional selling and social selling. In traditional selling ABC equals “Always Be Closing”. In social selling ABC equals “Always Be Connecting.” This notion was popularized by Jill Rowley at Eloqua because social media conversations are too light and public to close a high value deal. Instead, use social media as a way to build rapport and set a meeting or call. Save the transactional and closing conversation for the appointment itself or use social media to drive the lead into a proven conversion funnel such as a webinar or trial experience. Finding the right lead and building this rapport on social media will add velocity to the sales appointment and will allow you to achieve a higher ROI on your time and money when compared to cold calling.
So how do you build that rapport and start the conversation? The following touch points and tactics will guide you through the next steps.
A light touch is normally very quick and only takes the click of a button. Follow your lead on Twitter, favorite their Tweet, Share/ReTweet their content and view their profile on LinkedIn. This gets you noticed and builds some rapport as you are endorsing their content on the social web. Most people are not flooded with social media interactions so they take the time to see who followed them, shared their content or viewed their profile. This gets the lead’s attention and they start to wonder about you.
A medium touch is a reply to a post/conversation that your lead started. The goal is to get them talking to you so that you can move the conversation towards the product or service that you have to offer. There are three components to a good reply on social media sites:
- Address the lead by name so it feels personal.
- Make a comment on the topic of the initial post.
- Ask a light question that is easy to answer in a few words. It’s best if this question helps to move the conversation towards your area of expertise or if it helps uncover the lead’s problem/needs.
Below is an example of a lead’s Tweet and a potential response:
If your company is creating good content that helps target customers learn about related topics then be sure to include that content. It is a great way to build credibility as a problem solver. See the example below:
A heavy touch gives you the opportunity to tell the lead a little bit more about you and your company. This can be the quickest way to get straight to the point and enter the transactional portion of the sale. You can leverage this tactic by calling the lead directly, emailing them, Facebook Messaging or using a LinkedIn InMail. This is different from a normal cold call or cold email because you have a specific buying signal that you can leverage. You know the lead is already thinking about the topic or problem because they posted about it on social media. You can also use LinkedIn to find a mutual connection and use that as another way to get the lead interested.
The example below shows how I am using the heavy touch tactic with a LinkedIn InMail. Notice how I refer to the specific social media post that the lead published. Also notice how I am referencing a mutual connection to add credibility. (Note: I am not using paragraphs so I could fit all of the text in one screenshot)
It may make sense to focus on different tactic depending on your industry or average selling price. For example, lower value B2C sales may just use the low and medium touch tactics to save time and reach scale. It is normally good to use multiple tactics in combination. For example, before making a deep touch it is a good idea to engage in a light touch first and get on the lead’s radar. It can also be helpful to use multiple social networks at the same time. Seeing a contact at many different events/conferences can make your relationship stronger. This is similar to using different social networks to engage with a lead.