As with everything in business, sales techniques have evolved over time. There is no room anymore for door to door sales and cold calling is a technique that needs to co-exist with digital sales methods. Sales are not only done through hard selling anymore, but consultants are being expected to rather foster relationships, giving the potential buyer the chance to approach them when they are ready to buy, rather than the other way around.
Social selling has become a necessary sales technique in all types of businesses. Social Selling is defined as:
· Sales Consultants who use social media to find and engage with new potential clients.
· Sales Consultants should use social selling to provide value, show brand loyalty and belief in the product by answering questions, replying to comments and by sharing content throughout the buying process.
· Social Selling thus helps with increasing their credibility level and creates visibility of the brand which creates opportunities.
To a lot of sales staff, spending time on social media sites might not feel like an immediate gratifying sale, but it publicly shows your ability to assist customers, shows that you have adequate knowledge of the product and shows your customer service and care level. Sales people who are using Social Media to engage with their potential customers are visible to anyone who might be interested in their service or product and thus creates opportunities to generate sales.
Today, successful sales depend on building relationships and by including social selling, Sales Consultants have a more targeted sales strategy. The onus is on Sales Consultants to learn more about social networks by playing around with the various functionalities and using it right. It’s “social” because you build those necessary relationships online with answers to customer questions and content that engage with the consumer until they're ready to buy.
There is an unlimited database of potential clients on social media right at your fingertips. They are easy and readily accessible and the best part is that they actually want to hear from you and engage with you. However, as with everything online, there are certain Do’s and Don’ts of Social Selling.
· DO NOT PERSONALLY SELL ON SOCIAL MEDIA – This means that you should keep a ‘social’ presence. Depending on your social media platform, people get irritated if they only see sales content from your personal page all the time.
· Don’t post Sales Content, but share it from your business page. You don’t have to share all the content every time, but choose what you think your targeted audience would be interested in.
· Don’t try to be on ALL of the platforms. Choose the one you think most of your audience will be on and rather aim your focus on one platform.
· Don’t be inconsistent, be a regular visitor of your chosen social media platform. Your audience are regular visitors to social media. Stay on it. It doesn’t help you visiting only once a week or month.
· Don’t try to make a hard sell. Prompt them with info and interesting facts etc. but let the customer come to you with questions and quote requests.
· Don’t trash talk or swear or even share vulgar posts. Keep it professional, but still relatable to your customer.
· Do add value to your posts by giving tips and ‘how-to’.
· Do be human – laugh, add emotion etc. Remember that people relate to people, so your audience wants to see your character in your posts. They want to relate to you as a person, not as a professional.
· Do research before you answer comments or reply to a complaint. If in doubt on how to respond, let it marinate and rather comment later. But please never NOT respond. This is bad form and shows you don’t appreciate your customers reaching out to you.
· Do engage with your audience. If someone asks for recommendations, respond if you know of someone who might be able to help.
· Do be social. Remember that all the platforms are social platforms which mean it is a place where people network online, read articles, educate themselves, research and build relationships.
· Do join groups. People like feeling part of a community where others care and add value to their lives.
· Do build relationships and friendships by interacting and helping each other.
Social Selling gives Sales Consultants an opportunity to build a relationship and show their customers that what they do matters to them. They show them that they care and want to make actual differences in the lives of their customers.
The Mindspa Institute is a soft skills training company operating in Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban with various courses in sales training. Visit www.themindspa.co.za or contact 010 110 0227 to find out more.