5 steps to get you started with social selling

The sooner you get active online, the better for you

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EDMONTON, May 11, 2015/ Troy Media/ – I’m jazzed. More people are reading my columns about modern marketing for the savvy business leader. The percentage of readers opening my EduMail hovers around 20 per cent, a solid rate. An increasing number of interested live souls – not web bots – are following me on Troy Media, LinkedIn and Twitter every day.

These numbers do not reflect the superstar status of a Kim Garst, who counts 350,000 in her Twitter feed. (Full disclosure: I belong to her Inner Circle of 247 digital marketing disciples.) My numbers do, however, reveal a smaller group of people keen to learn about finding new customers online and nurturing existing clients using digital tools that save time.

That lifts my heart when it comes to my mission: Help the savvy business leader transition to modern marketing.

It’s the reason I’m not giving up on this message for leaders of commerce and the community: 79 per cent of salespeople who used social media as a selling tool outperformed those who didn’t use the new approach. Business needs to get over its fear of modern marketing. You can include the Aberdeen Group and Jim Keenan (asalesguy.com) in your research to confirm these stats.

How to start social selling

What’s the single most important thing you do? Please don’t tell me all the amazing features of your exceptional product. Drill down to how your product or service helps a fellow human being to thrive in their own circle of influence. Successful Social Selling always starts with answering the question as to WHY you’re doing what you’re doing.

Let’s get to these 5 steps.

1) Build your professional brand. This exercise does require some introspection on your part. Think about answers to these questions:

  • How do you want others to view you?
  • How do you want to be known professionally as you go forward?
  • How might your colleagues, friends, and peers describe you?
  • What’s your ideal description of yourself?

Next, you can decide on which networks you’re most comfortable but also think about where your ideal customers spend their time. For example, business people spend most of their time on LinkedIn in these ways:

  • Top level executives primarily use LinkedIn for industry networking (22 per cent) and promoting their organizations (20 per cent);
  • Middle-management professionals primarily use LinkedIn to keep in touch with their peers (24 per cent) and professional networking (20 per cent);
  • Entry-level employees primarily use LinkedIn for job searches (24 per cent) and co-worker networking (23 per cent).

2) The art of conversation. Great networking is about “being seen to be believed” and adding value to relationships. Listen to what others have to say and ask questions. Nobody likes people who talk constantly about themselves.

3) Become a helper, not a seller. “The difference between helping and selling is just two letters,” says noted marketing consultant Jay Baer. Helping people is the new mantra for marketing. What are you doing right now that’s adding value to your current and potential relationships?

4) Become a hunter/gatherer of content. Prospects are online today and they have an insatiable appetite for information. Do them the favour of giving it to them and they will remember your name. Blogs, Infographics, podcasts, Edu-Mail, Video, newsletters and even my columns here at Troy Media are ways to use content marketing to “sell” your customers’ experience to other potential customers.

5) Know your prospect’s behaviour, inside and out. I hear this all the time: Everyone is our customer. Nope – it’s never been true in the traditional world of marketing and it’s even less true for the online prospect.

Social selling is here to stay. The sooner you get active online, the better for you.

Life-long communications strategist Sharon MacLean owned and published a traditional print magazine over 21 years for business people. She now applies her enhanced knowledge in digital marketing to the needs of her clients and believes in the value of combining the best of both worlds.

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