Here at DLA Ignite we've been working hard to take the guesswork out of selling.
We've had the return on investment (ROI) of social selling nailed down for 5 years, but wanted to move away from some of the "gurus" out there and the "get rich quick" schemes.
In away, what we did was put Social Selling in a petri dish and undertake experiments on it. If you do this, what do you get? If we do this and this, what do we get. We also did experiments where we didn't do things so we could see the results. Proper A B testing.
For example, if you post once a day, what results do you get, if you don't post for a week, what results do you get?
We've done it with ourselves, we have also done it with clients. A sample of one, not being scientific.
An Example Of Data Driven Social Selling
We found that humanised content is the best way to get leads, meetings and then sales. Why? Not because I or a sales guru says so, we have found this to be the case, because we have tested it and found through our data that this is the case.
The Difference Between Sales and Doing it for Likes
It’s important to say that is a clear difference between “engagement” and “sales”. Engagement is where you do something for likes, which is fine, but we can all be “busy fools”. So while humanised content is usually best for engagement, it is also backed by our social selling methodology that will provide with the process to turn this engagement into sales.
From a selling prospective, we think it's pointless posting on social and not seeing it as part of a tactic to sell more. Just like leads, you need to follow up.
I spotted at the weekend that somebody had posted an award on Linkedin which is fine, but is there a programmatic way behind this to harvest this post for meetings? I doubt it.
But Are We Not Leading a Prospect to Our Solution?
In the world of cold calling or cold email, what you do is interrupt people and put your offer in front of them. It's simple and we've been doing it since 1980, but like so many things in life, we are not still using a Sony Walkman and Windows 3.1. For those that were not born, those are other technologies that were used in the 80s.. In fact, here we have people that were not even born in the 1980s using processes .... from the 1980s. Weird.
I think you would agree that Boomer stuff like that should be left alone and so should cold calling.
Social selling is more subtle, why? Because the psychology of the buyer has changed.
Back to sales.
The Sales - Buyer Love Story Has Changed
If you are therefore leading a prospect to your “solution” humanised content is the best way to do this. Often sales is described by “gurus” in a simplistic form. I as a seller have a proposition, you have as a “buyer’ see that, buyer, falls in love and buys.
The problem with this “love story” is that it presupposes that I will read your website / brochure about your solution...which I won't as I have neither the time nor the inclination unless of course I know you, like you and trust you.
Why Content Helps You Make Sales
With literally millions of people publishing blogs there is no shortage of expert advice (much of it conflicting) available to me as the buyer to read and rarely do I have the time to just "read blogs."
All businesses want to believe that a website or a brochure will "push the prospect along the buying journey" but that is rarely the case except for low value / low engagement products and services, despite what marketing automation companies will tell people.
Sales is About Conversations (and Pipeline)
Complex purchases require conversations with individuals that understand the problem and how to solve it. Complex purchases don't need nicely crafted marketing platitudes because when all is said and done every brochure says the same thing "buy me I'm good."
So the purpose of content on social is to start conversations. Why? Because the best way to generate pipeline is by having lots of conversations - in the past that was achieved with knocking on doors, then cold calling people...and now by using social media.
The Power of Content in Your Sales Kit Bag
Content is about attracting, teaching and engaging that will lead to the “know, like and trust”. Salespeople are there to help a prospect with their challenge in some meaningful way - by providing content that can begin to help them in their their journey, the sales conversation will come when the time is right. Which sounds simple, but it’s not easy.
Why Every Business Get Sales Conversations Wrong
The comment "sales conversation will come when the time is right" is precisely what almost every organisation gets wrong. They hurry ahead and subscribe to the outdated idea of "closing at the earliest opportunity" which simply seems gauche and inappropriate in the modern world.
The shortest route to "know, like and trust" though is invariably through being authentic and personal and human.. That means not by talking about your businesses.
That's why our best friends and people we would trust with our lives are not people we talk to about the features and benefits of our solutions but about who we are, what we feel and what our vulnerabilities are!
Know Me, Like Me, Trust Me - Buy From Me
Often there is muddling of the argument in sales we all agree that as a seller we are looking to create relationships with buyers. If people “know us, like us and trust us” and we know they people buy from people they know, like and trust then this is great.
But Buyers Don't Want You to Be a Friend
One of the conflicting arguments we see online is that buyers will buy from people they "know, like and trust" and then we see people posting that customers are not interested in friendships, they are looking to improve their business. This is true, but there are 700,000,000 people on LinkedIn and every single one of them seems to have a solution to improve my business.
There Are More Sellers on LinkedIn Than Buyers So How Do You Differentiate
Everyone on Linkedin is an "expert," everyone offers "insights and advice," everyone "transforms one thing or another," everyone offers to "generate a constant stream of leads" or ways to help me to "accelerate my growth." Every one.
The thing is, none of us have the time nor the inclination to sift through this mountain of verbiage to work-out whether these people are competent, incompetent or simply lying...unless I like them.
Your Salesperson might write the best articles on LinkedIn but I will only know that AFTER I have read one and the ONLY reason I will read one is because I like you.
Not because you claim to be good or offer to help solve my problems but because it's YOU. Engaging people and building rapport is they key to get this trust and the most effective way to achieve that is through engagement and the best way to get engagement is through making the content human.
Social Selling Results
Eric Doyle, he's a partner of ours. He's posted about the fact that he has started riding his bike again.
At the time of writing Eric has 36 likes and 53 comments. That means with the average person having 500 connections on Linkedin that has reached 44,500 people. Think how long it would take you to build an email list of 44,500 people. We could assume that those 44,500 have 500 connections, so that connect could be seen by 22 million people. Who cares? You want leads and meeting after all!
Last time I spoke to him, he has got 6 new business meetings from this, it took him 20 minutes to create.
(I wonder if you can create 6 new business minutes in 20 minutes from advertising, cold calling or email marketing? ... I doubt it, but let me know if you can).
Taking Social Selling From an Art to a Science
This is just one example we have taken for the social selling process.
Social Selling is not just a way of generating leads, you use social selling throughout the sales process. It will help you accelerate your pipeline, it will help you close business.
For example, we help business (after we have transformed the sales team to use social selling) de-risk their forecast.. We also help businesses run competitive strategies to take their cold calling competitors out.
If you are looking to make a change and sort your sales strategy, lead generation, pipeline acceleration and increase your sales then we should have a chat.
You can contact me here
Salespeople, beware. Social distancing might be here to stay. Selling is not going back to normal, whatever that is. If you are one of the 50 million Americans who make their living in some form of sales, the time has come to face some hard truths. Prospects do not want to be in the same room with you.