Rising above the noise on the Internet today can seem insurmountable. The modern buyer doesn’t want to hear your pitch about your products and services. She wants to speak with her peers and people she trusts to help her make an informed buying decision. To learn more about the modern buyer and how sales people can use social to find, relate, connect and engage with her, I recently sat down with modern sales evangelist Jill Rowley. Here are some key takeaways from our conversation:
PlayPoint #1 Focus on Your Customer
“What's required is a MAJOR mindset shift from selling to serving, from focusing on YOU, YOUR COMPANY, YOUR PRODUCT, YOUR QUARTER, YOUR COMMISSION, to focusing on YOUR BUYER / CUSTOMER,” says Jill. “Making THEM #1, making them the hero and helping them WIN.”
The modern social buyer is a digital powerhouse. She uses the web to research nearly every purchase decision, and she’s exceedingly savvy about how to find out the truth about what she’s buying, and just as critical, who she’s buying from.
Today’s buyer has unlimited access to real-time information about your company, your products, your competitors, your customers, your industry experts, and your influencers. This means you need to know more than your website or you will be viewed as irrelevant. And you can’t play the broadcast marketing game any longer. Adopting a value-added, customer-focused orientation is imperative. Couple that with the need to be digitally connected, across multiple social platforms and tools, and you’ve greatly increased your chances of reaching your demographic.
In fact, a recent study from the Aberdeen Group showed that marketing teams who use social sales as a strategy saw a 64% overall increase in hitting team quotas, and a 55% increase in customer renewals, as compared to those not using social for selling. The numbers and testimonials keep proving that social is now a must for businesses looking to permeate the digital space.
PlayPoint #2 Always Be Connecting (The ABCs of Social Selling)
Your network is your net worth. If you are trying to get a meeting with a particular company or individual, social media can help you quickly find out who in your network has a close connection to that person so you can request an introduction. Contactswithin close social proximity can be invaluable when it comes to building your credibilitywith potential buyers.
Customer advocates are especially effective at boosting your credibility and sales potential in the digital space, and that is almost always forged through social channels. A failure to engage in the social conversation about your brand risks negative commentaries and unanswered feedback that can literally stop a sale in its tracks or even take down your business. Customers trust each other far more than they trust companies; by joining the social conversation, you increase your chances of creating a credible, trustworthy brand that others are happy to support via tweets and status updates.
PlayPoint #3 Engage Intelligently and Demonstrate Thought Leadership
To win over today’s highly empowered buyer, marketers and salespeople must work to become bona fide influencers. Content is the currency of the modern age, so one key element is creating valuable, shareable content that is consistently disseminated throughout your social channels.
The Sales Executive Council puts it this way: “The best reps are not just present in social media, they position themselves as credible and influential sources in customer networks.” In order to accurately compete, companies now need to be as empowered, if not more so, than the buyers they serve.
PlayPoint #4: Give, Give, Give, Ask
In the same vein as Gary Vaynerchuk wrote in his book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, your task is not to hard sell your offerings. Instead, adopt the motto of “give, give, give, give, give, ask” (with perhaps a few more “gives” thrown in for good measure), and you’ve stepped into the modern age. This, along with the intelligent utilization of key social selling tools, gives you the same level of empowerment as your potential buyers. Social selling isn’t just a passing trend, it’s literally the future of online marketing. The sooner you embrace the space, the sooner you stay relevant in the minds of your buyers.
Jill and I will continue the conversation on Twitter with 21 other social sales experts during the June 10th#SocSales Jam. Join the conversation?