We’ve all heard the stats: “Buyers are 67% through the buying process before engaging salespeople,” or “70–80% of buyers do their own research prior to the sale.” They make for splashy headlines, but regardless of their validity, one thing is for certain: buyers are doing a lot of research. And not just on the the product and the company, but on the sales person as well.
That’s right. Just like any potential new relationship in the modern era, people are going to turn to social media to do a little research — or light stalking, whatever you want to call it — to see whether you and your company are the right fit for them.
According to SalesforLife buyers today are seeking trust, connectedness, and compatibility with sales reps. And they’re not looking to find them from a phone call or an email. They want to know who you genuinely are and will do some digging on their own to find out. This includes your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles.
That’s why it’s important for any sales professional to keep a strong social presence. So how can you present yourself online as somebody your prospects can trust, connect with, and be compatible with before even speaking with a person?
Build Trust as an Industry Expert
92% of B2B buyers use social media to engage with sales industry leaders.
92 percent! That’s a staggering figure. But who are these illustrious sales industry leaders that can hold so much sway over B2B buyers? Are they chosen by a mysterious sales council on high? Did they pass some rigorous test the rest of us schmucks would fail? Nope they just started to share valuable industry expertise and never stopped. Sound like something you could have done yourself? That’s because it is, and you should.
Start by building your social media profiles to demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about the industry you are selling in. You can’t brand yourself as an industry expert, what you share has to do the talking for you. So, what should that content be?
Share what you know! You likely speak with dozens of people within this industry every single week. Those people share their hopes, their struggles, and you offer solutions. And you know what? Those same struggles are shared by almost every other buyer in your industry. Share the insight you give to buyers over the phone or in email every day on social media.
Just steer clear of talking about your product or service too much. You can work mentions of your product in, but they should be few and far between.
Delivering valuable content convinces potential buyers you are a trusted source of knowledge within your own space. That trust develops the foundation for buyers to ask more questions like how your product fits their needs and what you, the sales professional, can offer.
Engage and Be Seen Engaging
While the conventional wisdom of social selling has always been focused on what you post, there is a whole other component to your social profiles that you need to pay attention to: the engagements you have. Potential customers are looking to see how you interact with customers online, since it gives them a pretty accurate idea of what they can expect from you during and after the sales process. This means your social news feed and client engagement matters.
Don’t leave customer engagement up to your support team. Activities such as answering a customer question demonstrate knowledge and show how supportive your company can be. Or you can respond to exciting customer news with a friendly “Congratulations!” It’s really easy to say “we put our customers first” on your profile page. Social interactions show potential buyers that you care to provide additional resources and support.
Be an Ambassador for Company Values
This should go without saying, but keep your social messaging consistent with your company. Actions speak louder than words, but words are all you have on social so use them wisely. If your company values customers, positivity, efficiency, etc. prove it through your posts.
Your social networks are an extension of your company, as well as your own integrity. No one appreciates people airing their dirty laundry on social media. That goes double for a prospect. By aligning with your company’s values, proving you are a team player, you stand out as a compatible candidate for your buyer.
In the online buying game you have to be aware of your own social presence. Your company website won’t be the only one buyer’s look up. Your social network could be pitching a deal before you even speak to the prospect, so be sure it’s delivering the right message.
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