It’s time to have that awkward conversation.
How do you use social media to sell?
In two of my books, A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting, I really talk down on social selling. I talk down on it because social media can become a time vacuum for too many people.
However, social media does work to help you sell if you apply the right guidelines and bumpers. Let me walk you through some of these guidelines in 10 ways to use social media to sell.
Video – 10 Ways to Use Social Media to Sell
1. Your Reputation
Your reputation arrives before you do. This alone is one reason why you want to have a social media presence.
Think about this scenario: You are prospecting somebody and reaching out to them. You know what they are going to do? They are going to Google you before they talk to you.
What does your online presence say about you?
Respect goes two ways. Remember that the first word in social media and social selling is “social.” This means you have to respect the other person.
You cannot suddenly start selling and pitching to a new connection you suddenly found.
You want to get blackballed quickly? That is what happens when you pitch to someone you have not yet created a relationship with.
Too many salespeople make a connection and send the message, “Hey, I think you and I have a lot in common. Let’s connect,” and then suddenly, I am being pitched to. No, respect the person.
3. Nurture the Connection
Nurturing the connection is how you demonstrate respect.
I will connect with somebody, but I do not pitch nor sell to them right away.
I want to nurture the connection and understand a little bit about them. I want them to understand a little bit about me. I want to have some dialogue and then, if the door opens up, that is when you can turn it into a selling opportunity.
See, social media has a long tail. It is not a boom, sale, boom, sale situation. Rather, it is boom, connection. Then, your connections begin to grow.
4. Share and Add Comments
Sharing and adding comments is not something that requires an hour every day. This is my big hang-up regarding social media, because I see to many salespeople spending an hour or two on social media.
I spend at most 15 minutes a day. I have hundreds of thousands of followers, but I just do not spend more than 15 minutes a day.
There are several days when I do not even get to social media because I am just too busy. I try not to make that a habit for more than a day or two, but 15 minutes is enough for me. During that time, I can share and add comments.
It could be as simple as posting my comments on a news link I saw; it is amazing what you can do online in just a few minutes.
5. Connect People
I love connecting people. I might be connected with somebody and think to myself, “Wow, this is a really smart person and I need to introduce them to somebody else!”
I love to make introductions for other people. Again, that’s the “social” aspect of it.
It is like when you are at a networking event and run into people saying, “Hey, I want to introduce you to so-and-so.” What do you do? You walk them over.
Social media is like the real-deal networking event, just online.
6. Be Present
Being present means being who you are and being present in the moment. I love to make comments on what is happening in the industry today.
What I found is that when I can be present, it is amazing how many people place me in a higher regard.
What does this do? It allows me to be seen as timely and present. What being present also means is checking on the posts that I make. If I post something, I am not going to never check on it until a week later. I am going to check in on my post later that evening and respond to people’s comments.
As people make comments, I make comments. I make comments on the comments people make on my things. That is being present; it is not just throwing content out there and then walking away.
7. Off-line Conversation
This is money. My whole goal is to take the online connection and create the off-line conversation. Convert the online connection into an off-line one.
I have a large number of people I connect with and as we comment back and forth to gain some commonality, I might message them to send them more information. I nurture the relationship and say, “Hey, let’s grab 15 minutes to talk on the phone. I would love to understand your business a bit more.”
With this approach, I rarely get turned down. It is amazing how this creates massive opportunities.
8. Provide Solutions and Ideas
What you have to do is be seen as a leader in your industry and in the marketplace. To do so, you need to be providing solutions.
Providing solutions is not synonymous with talking down to other people. It simply means you are putting ideas and information out there you find relevant. You want to be seen as someone who contributes.
Sales is not a solo sport nor a solo activity. Sales is a team sport and I view everybody as on the same team. That being said, what I want to do is provide some solutions and some ideas to help.
More on the importance of relationships in sales here.
9. Play the Long Game
You have to be willing to play the long game. Do not think you are going to put some content out on the Internet and a month later, you are going to suddenly have all these customers.
This mindset is a big mistake many new salespeople make. They think they can just start going heavy on social media and within a month, the world is going to be beating their door down. It is not going to happen.
Social media is a long game – months and months and months long.
It is okay to put personal stuff out. For instance, I put personal stuff on my Facebook page but never on my LinkedIn page. My LinkedIn is reserved for more business content whereas I like to share neat moments with my family or maybe my commute on my Facebook page.
I am consistent and congruent with my message.
I am not putting stuff out there that is stupid or off-message. I am not putting stuff out there that is going to be seen as offensive. I am making it a point to respect everybody out there.
Here is the closing piece I want you to keep in mind: View social media as a tree. When you first get on social media, you are planting a little tree; see it as a sapling. There is nothing there yet and it takes months and years for it to grow into a tree. As it begins to bloom, your tree starts to cast quite a bit of shade on a hot summer afternoon. That tree shade and its impact is amazing; people flock to the shade the tree provides because they want to get cool.
That is what happens with social media but only over a long, extended, multi-year level of time.
For more of my views on social selling, read A Mind for Sales.
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Copyright 2021, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.