At Brainshark, we are in the midst of rolling out a full-scale program for social selling. During this project, I’ve been lucky enough to get some help from Bob Hutchinson, one of my colleagues in sales who happens to be an expert on social selling. Here are some of the things he’s taught me about how to be an effective social seller.
#1. Don’t be anonymous
You can set your LinkedIn security settings to hide your name when you are checking out other people’s profiles. Great if you are internet-stalking an ex, but not a good plan if you are in sales. Here’s why: when you look at someone’s profile, they get a notification that you were checking them out. They will likely look at your profile in return, to see what you’re about. This is an invitation to reach out to them and possibly connect.
#2. Forget your ABCs
Forget what Blake said in Glengarry Glen Ross. You cannot “Always Be Closing” in social selling because slow and steady wins the race in this game. Don’t go in hot when you do see a trigger opportunity and want to reach out to a potential connection. Nobody likes an unsolicited sales pitch. Your goal is to make a connection, not scare the person away.
#3. Don't be shy
Connecting with other sales people in your industry (but NOT competitors) is a great plan because you can help each other. After all, you’re selling to the same people, right? Maybe you know a great way to navigate the buying network at ABC Inc. Your counterpart at NotACompetitor.com is connected to a person you’ve been trying to connect with. You can work together to expand both of your networks AND your knowledge. It’s a win-win situation.
#4. Sharing is caring
Social networking and selling is all about mutualistic relationships, so you have to give to get. There are many ways to do that. Help someone who is looking for a job. Facilitate a connection either when asked or when you see that it could give someone in your network a leg up. Write a recommendation for someone you’ve worked with. Promote other people’s posts by sharing with your own social network. Once you’ve given, you can ask for help or a connection. Although, you might be surprised at how often those you’ve helped proactively reach out to help you.
Social is all about seeing and being seen. Since social is a great extension of face-to-face connections, make sure you are practicing proper social etiquette to get the most out of your network, both professionally and personally. You can learn so much if you just step back and have a little patience.
Looking to drive sales productivity at your organization? Learn more about how Brainshark can help.