reading time: 4 minutes

Today’s buyers are becoming increasingly tech-savvy and more empowered through social media. In fact, 75% of B2B buyers use social media to make a purchasing decision![1]

It is what’s now known as Social Selling. Defined, it is when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects. You see, good salespeople become great salespeople when they realize the wealth of opportunities that social media provides AND how to best act on those opportunities. When I say, “best act”I mean that these folks understand that the online sales dichotomy has changed from a push strategy, meaning a pushy, one-way in-your-face sales approach, to a pull strategy, meaning a more subtle sales approach. The latter is typically achieved by offering helpful information that could assist a potential client in making a purchasing decision. See the below two examples of each:

“Hey! You should buy my widget now! It’s the greatest, most awesome widget EVER!”

“Wendy, here’s some info that you may find helpful in your quest for a widget. Thoughts?”

Who would you rather talk to??? Easy answer, I know.

Boiled down, social selling allows salespeople to make valuable connections by answering questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy. Oftentimes, the relationship continues after the purchase has taken place.

Sounds fictional, right? Well, we’re all about great stories here at Endurance Marketing and I have two excellent NON-fictional tales that are perfect examples of social selling. The first involves my friend Amanda. She was in the market for a new car last year and was using Twitter to get some suggestions from her followers. Unbeknownst to her, Ford Service was listening. They saw her criteria and joined in the conversation with a tweet that provided her with some helpful information that catered to her specific criteria for a car. As a result of that, a personal connection was made and a relationship was launched. That one tweet did three things:

  1. opened the door for additional valuable conversations to take place,
  2. allowed for a test-drive to be arranged, and
  3. ultimately resulted in Amanda happily plunking down $20K on a brand new Ford Focus Titanium (the car she test-drove)!

Ford Service’s response of less than 140 characters started a series of events that resulted in a $20,000 sale. (Click here to read Amanda’s story.)

The other social selling example actually has to do with our Fearless Leader, Gwen! A few years ago she was in the market for a stand up desk. In her research of various desks, she learned that they were very expensive and there were so many options, so she reached out on Twitter in attempt to find a more affordable solution. Little did she know that Varidesk was listening. They kindly tweeted back to Gwen saying, “We may be a bit biased, but here’s an option that may work well for your needs.”Attached was a link with very helpful information on their reasonably-priced, adjustable standing desk. Gwen was intrigued! After some additional online conversations and research, Gwen ultimately bought a Varidesk. She was, and continues to be delighted in that purchase and happily recommends Varidesk whenever the opportunity strikes.

Keep in mind, these types of effective connections don’t always result from people asking questions in the cloud. A recent Forbes article mentioned how incidental similarities, such as a shared birthday, first name or hometown were enough to create a basic personal connection and thus increase the likelihood of a purchase. Another influential idea is to explore the use of powerful hashtags. For example, several US-based companies have gained new followers and successfully boosted sales by simply adding a #MadeInAmerica or #MadeInUSA to their social media posts

Have you adopted social media as a sales tool yet? If not, it’s time to start! According to Salesforce, 79% of salespeople who utilize social media outperform those who don’t. Today, you simply can’t ignore the impact social networks are having on sales. Much of the face-to-face introductions and networking that used to take place via outsides sales calls and trade shows are now occurring online through social connections. Also, with most marketing and advertising budgets running tighter than ever, it is essential to utilize social media as an economical way of reaching clients.

What’s your social selling success story…or struggle? I’d love to know! Do tell in the comments below.

Need some help with your social media strategy? That’s what we’re here for. Reach out here and let’s chat about social selling. 

[1] Source: IDC Social Buying Meets Social Selling, 2014