Even though social selling might sound like a simple philosophy, it can be a bumpy road to success. Some sales people expect that marketing can ensure that social selling succeeds, which is a huge mistake. It is important to understand that the prerequisite for social selling is that you, as a commercial profile, build up and maintain your network yourself.
Working with social selling includes creating enrichment, exhibiting interest and answering questions, both personally and in groups. You can “only” do this from your personal profile. Marketing can support you with content, which can be used for enrichment, but you need to drive the process yourself.
Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind the fine line between push and pull in social selling. Push concerns, for example, the posts and ads a company puts out on LinkedIn, and the monitoring of responses and conversion. Pull is the secondary and positive effect of enrichment and an essential link to social selling.
It takes time…
The time aspect can be an Achilles heel for some companies that perhaps are not geared towards giving social selling the time it needs to succeed. The very fact that social selling takes time and does not follow the classic approach that most sales organizations use, such as holding meetings, where for example SPIN (situation, problem, objections, benefits) sales techniques are used, challenges management.
With social selling, the process is reversed: first enrich and with it build up trust and credibility, then see the pull effect or that the starting point for a meeting is much more goal-oriented and successful this way!
Social Selling works
American research published in Forbes magazine May 19th 2013 showed that commercial profiles that used social media in sales performed 78% better than sellers that did not. Many can be thankful for this, but we should consider how to continuously ensure that you remain “current” in the minds of customers you would like to be suppliers for, and how to go about this most effectively!
After having worked with more than 4,000 commercial profiles over the last 3 years, my conclusion remains that the whole key to success with social selling on LinkedIn is “just” the following:
- People are knowledgeable sales people or commercial profiles.
- They will understand and work with enrichment with their networks and groups.
- They are able to commercialize on their network.
- Management and marketing monitor the value of social selling and understand that the process takes time.