I won’t lie. You’ll be frustrated at times with Social Selling.

Doesn’t that sound like playing golf? When you consistently swing the wrong way, you shouldn’t be surprised that the results will stay the same. I have certainly thrown a few clubs after bad shots. Having a bad day or bad golf routine happens to everyone. Our understanding of golf can be far from what it needs to be — especially when you watch a video of your swing.

Social Selling is the same: The way we were taught to sell happened during a time when buyers didn’t have vast amounts of data at their fingertips and were less informed than you, the seller. Times have changed. They not only have the data they need but can reach out to their network at any time — it’s called the social web. They now will contact you once they have a good knowledge of the solutions they need.

Excellent social sellers define themselves through online relationships. You may think of Social Selling tools as a one-to-many format, but this is the last thing you should do. When you enter your prospects’ social streams through public or private conversations, it should be to build one-to-one relationships. People often ask me: “How can I get more followers or get my prospect to follow me?” It’s going to take a long time to make this happen, and, to be blunt, it takes something else: marketing.

Marketing’s role is to bring brand awareness and one-to-many access through social platforms. You as a seller should own one-to-one relationships.

So when you engage with prospects on social networks, remember three key things:

  1. Casual and insightful should be your mantra. Are you casual in your interactions? Are you insightful to the people you interact with?
  2. “Always be closing” should actually be “Always be adding value.” Social selling is a methodology where you’re not technically selling but grow your number of acquaintances as you meaningfully engage with them. Some will turn into prospects as they “let you in.” not the other way around.
  3. You’re building a foundation and credibility. Unlike many other sales functions, you are here for the long run and not just to close the quarter. Learn to always share solid content and add value so that when your followers face a challenge, they’ll contact you first.

About the author: Yann Ropars is the vice president of digital marketing at Miller Heiman Group. Follow him on Twitter @YannR.

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