Archive for the ‘social selling’ Category
As part of my overall social selling efforts, I regularly ask those who wish to connect with me on LinkedIn what prompted their LinkedIn invitations. A more recent response was the following:
“I just thought that it would boost my business so that’s why I joined hope you having a great day thank you.”
This struggling entrepreneur (yes I am presuming he or she is struggling) is engaged in the all too common spray and pray marketing behaviors. In this particular instance, spray my name all over LinkedIn and it will increase sales.
How wrong. how sad and what a waste of resources!
Social selling is misnamed because what it really is, is social marketing. Marketing is attracting attention and beginning to build relationships. Yet because people continue to call it social selling, some folks like this struggling entrepreneur believe it is selling.
Each day thousands of independent sales professionals believe if they spray their names all over the social media landscape, they hope (pray) to increase sales. They fail to understand the first rule of buying:
People buy from people they know and trust.
How this translates within the social selling world is through engagement. Salespeople must engage with potential sales leads, centers of influence, etc. to demonstrate their knowledge and their trustworthiness.
What would have been a better response by this LinkedIn member is something like:
“I enjoyed your recent posting (update, etc.) and possibly we can schedule a quick chat to better understand our respective businesses.”
“I am looking to expand my LinkedIn presence. Possibly we can schedule a quick chat to better understand our respective businesses. Does (insert date and time) work for you? If not, let me know some better times.”
The social media landscape can expand one’s market presence provided that individual understands this basic concept:
Marketing is not selling!Share on Facebook
LinkedIn for B2B professionals does matter. For the last few years I have been conducting my own private research and learned, at least for me, the top 5 reasons why people ask to be connected.
The super majority of people (nearly 60%) send me invitations because I have engaged with them or with one of their connections. Since LinkedIn changed its groups policies, these engagements are overwhelmingly from update posts. Prior to this change, the invitation outreach was through groups.
Additionally within this reason for connection, I have included those profiles I have visited. When a second or third degree connection has visited my profile, I usually return the visit. In quite a few instances, I will then receive an invitation to connect.
#2 LinkedIn Pulse Articles
Even with all the people publishing on Pulse, my articles still continue to drive a significant amount of invitations to my In Box. Right now approximately 25% of all LinkedIn invitations are because of these articles. What I have also observed is quite a few people within this community will follow me first and then extend an invitation to connect. Content marketing for B2B is a proven marketing method for attracting attention and beginning to build relationships.
#3 Direct Outreach
Sometimes either through a personal one on one meeting, I will receive an invitation to connect or I will send an invitation. These invitations represent around 7%. Also within this group are those who are connected to one of my first degree connections and believe it may make sense to connect with me as well.
As my network has grown, I have begun to see an increase in referrals from other colleagues. Those within my existing contacts also have made suggestions for others to connect with me. Where in the past this percentage was nominal, today it also hovers around 5%.
Finally, around another 3% of my connections now originate from LinkedIn’s suggestions to connect. This is the smallest percentage. And for me has always been the smallest percentage.
For those engage in social selling or better yet social marketing, then it makes sense to be engaging on LinkedIn. Share the update posts of others. Comment on those posts. My other suggestion is to keep track of those who visit your profile, research their profile to determine if an invitation to connect is warranted.
P.S. Please make sure your LinkedIn Profile is complete and engaging. Many profiles turnoff more sales leads or prospects than they turn on. And no you do not have to accept all invitations.
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For SMB there have been many changes within the market place. One of the more far reaching changes has been this concept of social selling where salespeople leverage the Internet through social media sites for everything from marketing to relationships building to targeted prospecting.
Just for clarity social selling in today’s marketplace is defined as “when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects. Salespeople will provide value by answering prospect questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.” (Source: Hubspot)
I would revised this definition with the following changes in red “when salespeople use social media to interact directly or indirectly with their prospects, colleagues and centers of influence. Salespeople will provide value by:
- Connecting to their prospects’ value drivers
- Answering prospect’s questions
- Offering thoughtful content
- Facilitating an ongoing emotionally compelling sales conversation
until the prospect is ready to buy because the prospect now knows and trusts the salesperson.
Even though I believe in simplicity, the power of social selling is built upon the existing long held sales tenet that people buy from people. In today’s technology driven world, many sales experts fail to reinforce this long held sales tenet.
Today, many SMB owners and sales professionals have yet to jump into this new marketing and selling channel. Possibly their delay is because they lack ab overall business growth plan (think strategic planning).
And for some who do engage in social selling, their focus in 100% on sales pitches and not on building relationships. As to their content, much is old, rehashed and not emotionally compelling.
Jumping into social selling arena requires some intestinal courage and taking a leap of faith. Of course having a solid marketing plan within the overall strategic plan is a big plus.
Salespeople must never forget people buy from people they know and trust. Engaging in social selling is a natural extension of that first sales buying rule.