A car is a metal box on wheels, we have a perception as to the price of that metal box on wheels depending on the badge on the front.  Ford, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, just by saying those names you have a feel about price.

I was talking to somebody the other day and pointed out that in my local shop is a Polo shirt for $325 (£250) now somebody will buy it, the person I was talking to said their t-shirt cost $10.

There are a number of ways that social selling can help you, if your product is "expensive".

How the market and buyers perceive you

If you are selling stuff at the high end of the market, then you must show "value".

Last time I went into a BMW dealership (I had a meeting I wasn't buying), I was offered a coffee, a bottle of water (it was a hot day), I was looked after.

The last time I went into a car dealer at the low end, I was ignored, the salespeople seem to have been far too busy to talk to me.

You have to understand that in sales today, there are 756 million people on LinkedIn, your competition is just one click away.  We know that your buyer is going to check you out on social, your job it to look different.

We call this a "buyer centric profile" - Think of your Linkedin profile is your website, it's open 24 hours a day, 366 days a year.

When somebody comes to check you out, what do you want them to think?

You're looking for a job? (Your Linkedin profile is a CV).

You're just another sales person? (your Linkedin profile looks like everybody else's)

You're looking to rip people off (You will be saying what an amazing salesperson you are)

You're a corporate robot (you will be posting corporate brochures)

You're a business partner that can help us, you understand our business issues, you are person we can trust.

It's your profile, you choose. 

Our social selling and influence course takes you through how to create a personal brand and we coach you so that you will punch above your weight when compared to the salespeople in your competition.

You need to be well networked

When I was on the UK Board of a US software company, we had 7 sales people that always, always did 200% of their number.  We did some analysis and those 7 had a number of things in common, one was that they were always connected to over 200 people per account.

The accounts knew who these salespeople were, they often got internal referrals.  Critical they had a great network.

The way we work today is to have our networks online in digital format, none of these business cards.  You need to connect to as many people as you can in your accounts.

Remember, you are a business leader, don't sell.  Social networks are not about pitching and if you sell something that is expensive, if you pitch you will come across as "cheap and nasty".

Let's not forget that every connection request is your chance to have a conversation and conversations drive sales.

In our social selling and influence course, we teach and coach you on how to grow your network, without pitching and maximising your chance to have a conversation. 

You need to offer something different

At the meeting, I mentioned above at BMW it was the with dealer principal and he explained to me how the world had changed and they had to adapt.  He explained that they now assume that one a prospective customer walks through the showroom door, they will probably know more than the salesperson.  If you think about it, BMW offers so many different modules there is no way that the salesperson can know everything about every car. The buyers will have been online and done a load of research.  They will have been in chat forums on social media, asked their friends.

The salespeople therefore have knowledge, that the prospective customer cannot have.  The finance options, the resale options.  The dealer principle pointed to one high end car and pointed out that the sporty saloon was only a few horsepowers less than the sporty, sporty version, but had a higher resales value.  So you got a cheaper car, a higher resales value, but you lost 2 seconds on the 0 - 60, which is something you will never use.

The point being, that your customers will be doing research, especially if they are spending a lot of money.  Please don't put out the branded content, it makes you look like all the other salespeople.

You need to create your own content, content that insights, that speaks to your clients business issues, help them, support them, entertain them.

So who's doing this?

In case you missed it, the Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch have banned cold calling and have moved all their people to social selling. This isn't some trendy tech company that might have decided to do this on a whim, this is a very conservative financial services company that has made a decision based on data.

But surely cold calling has a better ROI than social selling?  Not according to Merrill Lynch.

"They will also be encouraged to contact prospects over LinkedIn, which has a higher hit rate than cold calling"

The CRO (chief revenue officer), Richard Eltham of Namos Solutions, of one of clients posted a comment on LinkedIn about social selling. See here.

“Social selling is not an option now it is the way of the world and you either learn and execute it or fear getting left behind”