What is social selling? 6-step strategy.
This article is a transcript of a conference I hosted at #SocialSellingForum.
Master of Ceremonies: The three of us are going to take over from us, Yannick, Jean-François and myself, for each of us to have a particular vision and I will immediately give the floor to Yannick BOUISSIERE for about twenty minutes on this subject: social selling.
Social selling: the trigger
Yannick: Thank you ! Hello everyone. So we’re going to talk about Social Selling, but first, to break the ice between us, I wanted to tell you a little anecdote.
It was in 2012, I was in the job market like maybe some of you here. And faced with a very saturated market, many candidates, few offers, many competitors, I had to differentiate myself to stand out from the crowd and achieve my goal. So I used the classic methods that did not work until I said to myself: “you will have to apply the techniques of marketing to yourself to succeed in achieving your goal”.
And so, I sold myself as a product by applying the strategies that I applied in business to myself. It was then that to find a professional opportunity, I created a concrete CV, literally a reinforced concrete CV! 50 kilos all the same, steel two meters high that I could not bring for maintenance …
It allowed me, after taking a photo with the media etc. to make the buzz on LinkedIn , Viadeo, Twitter and professional social networks. And since that day, I had a click, I understood that it was possible to sell andsell via social networks , that it was essential to manage your online visibility and it was important to be present on LinkedIn which, today, is the number 1 professional network in the world .
So on the menu today, we are going to talk about the classic business model, the Social Selling model and also about LinkedIn and I would still like you to leave with practical advice to be able to implement this in your structures. So, I’ll give you some tips to take away.
What is the classic business model?
This is I have a product, I choose a target, I justify my product, here it is, it is like this, it is like that, buy it from me. So the classic business model is I have a product to sell and so you go see your target and say, “Buy me”. Except that this classic business model, we know what it gives, less than 1% return rate, that is to say that companies make phoning to sell a product to someone who’s quite a cold prospect and let them sell it and all of that effort is going to go into having less than a 1% return rate. And worse, 80% of decision makers will not respond and only 28% of these people will interact with the salesperson. So this is the old way.
Changing buyer behavior
This is why it is important to see that the behavior of buyers has changed. Buyers today know what they want. So, when someone goes to buy a car, they already know what type of engine they want even before going to the dealership. They know what they want and they know why they want it. It radically changes the sale .
An important thing is that people today trust the opinions of others: they make decisions as a group, they go to social networks, search for content, take an interest before they even move on. Act of purchase. And so that must be taken into account in the sales cycle and when establishing your prospecting plan .
What is social selling?
According to Loïc Simon, founder of Social Selling Forum, it is the art and the way of using social networks to sell. But my definition, it’s using social networks in the sales journey, because social networks are a breeding ground where your target is located, where people are, you will be able to interact with them, follow the people who are most interested in order to potentially lead to offline or to a web page. conversion. But in any case if you are in BtoB, it will generally be done over the phone or in an appointment to lead to a sale.
And so, it’s really the use of social networks throughout the sales journey, both initially to promote values, to meet people during to have the interaction and after to build loyalty and continue to advance. our target, because that’s it selling is helping the person solve a difficult lasting problem that they encounter, it is not selling a product, it is responding to a problem.
The social selling strategy in 6 steps
And so the social selling model, you see, has a little more steps, and it’s slower. But to know how to be effective, you have to know sometimes to be a little slower to find quality and people who are really interested.
So the social selling model is not I have a product to sell, no. It is I identify my target, I will add it on social networks, I will expose it to the values of my brand, to the why, not only to the product or to the benefit of the product, no. We will expose the brand to the values, to the why, to what provides a differentiation. We are going to publish content with high added value to help the target progress, to help this target well to solve his problem or in any case to give him some food for thought. We will exchange with her, we will have interaction or exchange in the comments, by messages, etc.
There’s going to be a time when he’s going to have an entry into a relationship. And the beautiful thing about social networks, and LinkedIn in particular, is that you can identify the perfect right time to approach this target. You know what her news is, you know what her problems are, you know what content she has seen, on LinkedIn or via tracking tools on websites or the content you have. And you can decide to connect with these people at the perfect right time when you think it’s relevant.
And there, the return rates no longer have anything to do with the 1%, since you know that the person is interested, they have been exposed to your brand, they already know you, you already have a relationship, the people you already know, they have already seen your content.
And then, this connection will generate prospects, leads that we will qualify as prospects and that we will convert into customers . And there, the sales people enter into a relationship here and that’s where they will transform in the usual way. But let’s say that the cycle that there was before is going to be different in order to be able to arrive at this exchange.
And there, we will be on a qualitative exchange of a person who knows rather what he wants or else needs a human exchange, to be understood and to see a personalized solution for his problem.
And so, ultimately, you are going to get bought! And there are even people, me, it happens to me regularly to have people who contact me directly since they saw the content, they understood that I was the right person to solve their problems, suddenly they are going to contact me and so I got bought. I didn’t sell a product, I contributed content, followed all of these six steps and got bought. This is social selling.
Social selling in figures
And so the numbers in social selling, that’s right, 84% of decision-makers follow recommendations. So, they’re not all on LinkedIn, we’ll see that later. But in any case, before going to the act of purchase and especially if it is a major purchase which represents a sacred investment, people will consult, will be interested, will ask questions, will consult the opinions on Internet.
78% of sales reps do better, so that’s official LinkedIn numbers, and 64% of sales reps who use social media in the sales journey, in their strategies, are successful and hit their quotas. What does that inspire you?
And what is interesting is that with social networks, there is a favorable reception of prospects, that is to say that we have 87% of the people who were questioned who feel a positive a priori if we contact them through social networks. Because it’s a human and not a logo that will relate to them, especially on LinkedIn, it will be a human-to-human exchange, it will have a high-value exchange where we will exchange knowledge, skill.
70%, expect solutions and that’s an important point, 65% of people consulted say that the content they saw on social networks has impacted their purchasing decisions, had an impact on the sale. So, here is the need to produce content or at least publish content to attract prospects that are interesting to us, to make them progress and to influence them a little bit in their purchasing decisions.
And so social selling, I want to take this idea out of your head, it’s not a short-term solution that will bring you hundreds of customers like that. It is a strategy , it is an approach to put in place that will generate long-term leads in your business.
To do this, you have to apply a certain number of steps, you may have to reinvent the process, align marketing with sales, set up content creation or curation, all of this to generate qualified leads. .
Social selling in summary
And in fact, what is social selling? It’s just the evolution of selling with today’s tools . Social networks allow communication, allow opinions and therefore social selling is to use these social networks in the sales process. And we also say that it is the adaptation to the tools of today and therefore it is just an evolution. This is why the term “Modern Selling” is also used in particular by LinkedIn.
So Social Selling or Modern Selling, it’s the same thing, it’s just that here we emphasize the fact that it is the evolution in sales whereas there we emphasize the word -key “social”, but it’s the same thing.