Buzzwords like “social selling” can elicit many different reactions from employees in the same company, same department, even within the same sales team. For digital natives, social selling may seem so obvious that it’s hardly worth mentioning. For others in the workforce, just hearing the term “social media” may scare them into inaction.
In the old world, this was OK – there were other ways to sell effectively, other ways to get a meeting in the Economic Buying Influence’s office. But, this isn’t the old world. Now, the only way into a deal is by crafting relationships through a variety of means seamlessly sewn together to create a cohesive strategy. The first touch point, and arguably the easiest touch point, is through social media.
As you can imagine, social selling has earned itself quite a few misconceptions. We are going to comb through five of the most common myths about social selling and set the record straight on what social selling can do for you.
- Social Selling means never making a phone call again.
This simply isn’t true. There will never be a replacement for the human touch salespeople are able to bring to the client-seller relationship. Social selling serves as a way to build your Top of Funnel base from which you build closer, more “human” ties. What social selling can offer is never having to make a cold call again – which I don’t think anyone will complain about.
Pro tip: Try mapping out the different touch points you intend to use and establish how each can tie into one another. For example, follow up with a comment you made on their blog post with an email suggesting other articles on that topic.
- It’s impossible to be heard on social media – it all moves too fast, with far too many contributing voices.
Yes, social media is loud, fast-paced, and can reduce your contributions to just noise. However, with the right tools and the right training, you can avoid this potential downfall. One example of a time and noise management tool is Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck allows you to be highly specific about who you want to listen to – this can be divided by individual users, prospect companies, or lists of multiple users with a commonality that groups them together. Once you’ve narrowed down who you want to hear, then you can hone in and formulate thoughtful replies and share relevant articles and information with those you’ve targeted.
- My clients aren’t on social media.
Yes, they are. The reality is: everyone is on social media. If not Twitter, definitely LinkedIn, probably Facebook and potentially several other sites out there. That prospect from the accounting firm just might have a YouTube channel because his passion is to teach others about gardening. You really don’t know until you go digging.
You can also predict where that prospect might be based on different verticals. You better believe most real estate agents, retail owners and designers are on Pinterest sharing ideas and original uploads. Hairdressers, web developers and coffee shops are without a doubt on Instagram showing off their latest work and artsy photos. Get creative – everyone exists in the social-sphere in some capacity.
- By interacting with prospects I don’t know, I am invading their privacy.
Here’s the deal: on a platform where someone can choose to be as public or as private as they want, you are not responsible for determining whether the post was meant to be public and seen by you. They knowingly posted it publicly. Of course, social etiquette rules apply here. There are certain comments that could be misconstrued or seen as invasive – avoid those. However, if their profile isn’t private then you should feel free to interact with them and what they share.
Pro tip: Next time your prospect posts a photo from their family trip, try replying with something nice and light-hearted…and don’t forget to hashtag: “Wow – looks gorgeous, definitely adding #Yosemite to my travel bucket list!”
- I’m never going to close a deal on Facebook.
The social savvy part of me wants to respond to this with “you really never know,” primarily because I have seen some very creative social selling strategies that have led to significant wins. However, for most, this is probably true. And that’s OK. Social media isn’t necessarily where you are going to be closing deals; it’s where you are building your prospect relationships, showing your industry expertise, thought leadership, and yes, your personality, one post/reply/share at a time.
As Gary Vaynerchuk (@GaryVee), author of “The Thank You Economy” and “Crush It”, says, the secret is jab, jab, jab, right hook. He may be talking about content marketing, but the same goes for social selling. Give knowledge, give relevant information, give some of your expertise away for free, then hook ‘em and get the win.
Check back in as we continue to uncover the secrets of Social Selling and identify the myths steering you awry. In the meantime be sure to check out our other blogs on Social Selling here and here. And be sure to follow us on Twitter @MillerHeiman and share your #SocialSellingMyth stories.