Social Selling: Adopt It or Face the Heat

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Courtesy Google

Everyday we hear about the concept of social selling and most of us may argue that selling has always been a social activity. Selling is always about relationship building and hence focus on rapport building, networking and leveraging existing relationship. No doubt this has been the sales activity since the people started selling and hence still we are doing that.

But the buyer today is well informed about the product even before he/she meets you. He/she has an access to huge amount of data and information available online about the product/service, about your competitor’s offerings and about your credibility in the market. They do not have to depend on your website for the information; instead they have access to large number of blogs, discussion forums, online community where they will get the unedited version of your product/service. Buyers are now more expressive in their thoughts than ever. Any failed product or poor service from you or your company and you can see a huge discussion about it on social networking websites.

Following are the reasons why Sales People need to be more Social:

1) Lead Generation: Lead generation in the past has been a very critical process in the sales cycle and involved an elaborated cycle. But with linkedin,facebook,twitter etc. it has become easier for sales people to know their prospect and hence can know their sentiments about the product/service they are looking for, which in turn will help sales people to position their offerings accordingly. Being a part of right online forum and community is really important as it will give you the insight on buyers need and hence the product/service can be altered accordingly.

2) Information on your Competition: We all want to know about our competition and what unique are they providing to their customers. Sometimes uniqueness is so small that you will not be able to know till you see their advertising or public relation campaign and this  differentiators are so small that any advantage can make the difference between success and failure. Social business tools can give you advanced notice in these shifts in positioning. By monitoring what your competitors are saying – especially what individuals within the company are saying and the comments of those they’ve spoken to – you can spot competitive movement earlier and have an opportunity to react earlier.

3) Relationship Building: As discussed earlier that sales has always been about rapport building, relationship building and leveraging existing relationship. If as a sales person you are not a part of any social networking forum or you are not active on any of the discussion regarding your industry, than there is a good chance that your competitor is taking an advantage of this and eating up your prospects. Social networks gives you a great platform to network with your customers and build relationship with them through discussions on various forums.

Social Selling has reduced the sales cycle to a great extent. Even before you approach a buyer he has already gathered the required information and is almost done with the 50%-60% of sales cycle. So it is very important for you to be really active on your social networks and join the communities which are of interest to your business. Regularly updating your communities about your offerings and any new features that has been added to your product/service, will help in maintaining the interest of community members or your network in your product/service and you never know when they can approach you for the same.

Peer recommendations are the number one trusted source of information for any business decision (and always have been). Today, however, the definition of ‘peers’ has widened considerably. It’s no longer simply those we work with or have worked with in the past (though even this has grown exponentially with the likes of LinkedIn and Xing). Today, peers cover a vast range of people connected in a wide variety of ways.

Social networks have become the binding force that holds these connections together. They make it easier than ever for people to share information and solicit recommendations about services and suppliers. And they’re public.

While many worry about the threat of social media, if you’re in sales, it’s time to look more closely at the opportunities.

 

 

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