Whether you own a business and manage your own sales force or you’re paid to lead a sales team, your biggest ongoing challenge is answering the question: How do I get my team and systems to produce better sales results?
No one can argue old school sales techniques like making cold calls, sending direct mail, attending networking events, and hitting a few trade shows every year works. But none of them work particularly well when we see failure rates of 80 percent or more.
Proof lies in the massive shift to search-engine marketing, social media networks, email and mobile advertising. Millions of people have adopted the Internet, social networks, email and mobile as a way of doing business.
So what’s the best way to get your team to start getting better results? Empower and train your team to use social selling, an approach to building relationships that you and your team can feel good about using every day. Once you learn the power of social selling and integrate it into your business, your people will become more comfortable with how and what they sell, enabling them to perform better for you.
Here are four ways to start integrating social selling into your sales and marketing plan of action and daily activities.
1. Embrace social media personally
Lead by example. This means learning to optimize your social media profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Hire a coach or someone you can trust to help you. Tell a better story about who you are, why you do what you do and how you add value to the world. The best leaders in social media attract the best following of people because they contribute the most. You must learn to be highly engaged, positioned as a thought leader and trusted as an authority figure in your business.
2. Be a giver
Givers attract people. Takers repel. Most people take online, instead of contributing great content. Just showing up is part of being a better giver. After you optimize your social media profiles, show up every day just like you do at the office. Read what others write and share a positive comment or review. Write articles and share stories that will help people solve problems or get more of what they want. Giving is about finding your voice, understanding your purpose for doing why you do what you do every day, and making difference.
3. Build relationships and trust
Set a personal, daily goal for making new contacts on the social network that is most appropriate for you. People do business with people they like and trust. Focus on building rapport instead of being the pesky salesperson pitching his stuff from the first minute he shows up on the network. Nobody likes this person.
4. Empower your team
Invest in training. The best people on your team will tell you what they need. Don’t dictate this to them. Give your team what they need as long as there is a clear action plan in place, accountabilities for everyone on the team and a focus on the result or ROI.
Sales and marketing is a process, never an event. It is also one of the most crucial investments you make in your business requiring skilled people and technology, both of which make it more complicated to succeed. Social selling is a simple, highly effective, measurable way of building relationships online. Small business owners, entrepreneurs, top sales and marketing professionals today make social selling a core discipline because it’s measurable and effective. Embrace it now and see what happens.
Clifford Jones is the founder and managing partner of Conversion Marketing Experts, a sales and marketing advisory practice providing strategy, planning, digital and content marketing services. Jones has co-written four books and published hundreds of articles and videos on small business start up, sales, marketing, automation and entrepreneurship. He also is a trainer, coach and speaker.
How to integrate social selling into a sales and marketing plan