Social Selling is Not a Magic Potion

social selling
Dive in. You still need to cold call.

We’ve seen a lot of so-called Social Selling experts declaring the end of Cold Calling or telling us that if we hit a certain number on our SSI score, social selling will cause buyers to flock to us.

Sorry! That’s just wishful thinking.  But does that mean Social Selling has NO VALUE in the Sales world? Of course it does!

In his book, Not Taught, Keenan puts it very simply: “Digital Anonymity creates distrust.”  In an era when we google everything, we expect to find what we need when we search online.  A buyer wants to find everything they need, from jeans to experts to help in business.  What that means in sales is that the sales rep can’t rely on their company brand alone, they need to create an authentic, personal brand as well.  They might find your product, but it’s not going to sell itself at that point. The goal is to digitally create a connection so you can build trust and rapport with your buyer.

That’s why I say Social Selling isn’t a Magical Potion…but it is a VERY important element in creating digital trust.

The All-important LinkedIn Profile

While it might not get the phones ringing off the hook, and you can just sit back and sip a cool beverage poolside the rest of the summer, a good LinkedIn profile can help you get found and it definitely helps get a call back.  Truth is, before a prospect answers your call or email, they’ll look you up online.  Your profile needs to speak to your experience and your professionalism.  Fill in your summary and make sure you reference the industries you work with.

Look Them in the Eye Digitally

Get a professional headshot. At minimum, have a friend take a nice closeup shot of you in a pleasant, well lit setting. Recently, LinkedIn added filters, giving you some helpful tools to create a professional looking picture.  Make sure your picture looks them the viewer in the eye and shows you are honest and earnest and want to help your buyer.  Not just make a sale.  A nice headshot shows you care enough that you spent more time thinking about it rather than just cutting your date out of that shot from your cousin’s wedding 4 years ago. Not playing pool.  Not waxing your surfboard.  No kids.  No pets.

Use a Social Touch in your Cadence

Social Selling isn’t what the marketing team does – that’s social media marketing –  but certainly you can leverage their work in your efforts.  Don’t just repost everything marketing writes.  Select appropriate pieces to message directly to relevant contacts. A social touch in sales is:

  • Sending a personal invite to connect via LinkedIn
  • Forwarding a relevant article by directly messaging a contact
  • Looking at their profile on LinkedIn
  • Commenting on one of their posts on any social media platform
  • Sharing or retweeting one of their posts on any social media platform
  • Tagging them in a dialog that’s relevant (don’t abuse this… I’ve seen a rising level of complaints on LinkedIn over mass tagging) – be selective and specific
  • Sharing relevant content with them directly online or offline

These are all actions that let your prospect know you are interested in them and what they care about.

No matter what your industry, your prospects are on at least one form of social media. That means that when you are using a cadence of touches – traditionally calls, voice mails, and emails, adding a social touch gives you one more way to attempt to engage with them.

Why Sales Must be Social

Sales is inherently social. Sales is the two-way communication that helps a buyer make the best decision for them based on the information they can gather.  So with a huge amount of information being gathered and disseminated via social platforms today, using those platforms as part of the sales conversation is a natural extension.  The trick is not to be spammy or stalk.  Don’t DM your sales pitch.  Don’t put your pitch in your invite to connect.  Just as with any other medium use it as one more way to build trust and rapport.

Social Selling isn’t a Magic Potion because it should be a natural part of your sales process.  And most of all, it’s at the heart of building trust and rapport.