Social Selling is a term used to describe a strategy for driving sales from Social Media. That strategy or process is very different from traditional sales that come from cold calls, drop byes, or online or offline ads.

Often when sales pros, consultants or business owners contact a potential lead with a cold call they use a script to determine quickly if there is interest. If there is, they launch into a sales presentation. That approach won’t work with social media connections. Here’s why:

Think of attending a networking event and having a brief conversation with someone who you think would be a perfect prospect. You wouldn’t start selling right on the spot. You’d exchange business cards, as well as some information about each other, and you’d suggest following up.

Social media is simply an online networking opportunity. So once you connect with someone on LinkedIn, or Facebook for that matter, most people will be turned off if you hit them with a sales pitch.

Just like offline, helping people to know, like and trust you is crucial.

With social media the best way to turn a new contact into a lead is to ask for “micro commitments”. So when someone agrees to connect that is the first micro commitment. Once someone says yes to something small, they are more likely to say yes again to a small next step.

The most effective micro commitment steps are:

  1. An engagement campaign leading to…
  2. A discovery call

Let’s look at each.

The Engagement Campaign

If you’re asking for micro commitments in order to build the Know, Like and Trust factor, nothing is more effective than an Engagement Campaign. Its purpose is to demonstrate that you understand the core problem or pain your prospect has, that you have an effective solution, and that you are a trusted expert who has gotten proven results.

The best way to do this is by building a High Response Webinar. Make your webinar a free training event that offers some intelligent tips, but persuades the viewer to want to learn more from you. Webinars can also sell for you if you have a “gateway” product or service that is an entry level offer.

On average about 30% of webinar attendees become qualified leads and anywhere from 3% to 8% become buyers. But what’s the best advantage of having a high response webinar? It’s an Automated Lead Generation system that works for you 24/7.

It also is a micro commitment for someone you’ve just met who would like to learn more. It warms up the relationship and builds trust fast. Did you know that on average, 30% of webinar attendees become qualified leads?

Unleash the power of webinars to engage your new social media contacts and get them onto your mailing list so you can engage with them further.

The Discovery Call

In order to get someone interested in a discovery call, zero in on a specific reason for the call that is compelling. Do you need their expert input? Do you have an interesting idea that might really help their business? Would you like to invite them to participate in an event? A group? Try to think of something rather than just a phone call.

A discovery call is like meeting for coffee. During the call you learn about each other’s businesses and ask each other how you can help to support the other. First you’ll want to ask them to tell you more about their business, and listen carefully to their answer. Then, while explaining what you do, you might create an opening by saying that you work with companies in their industry who have this problem or issue (insert the problem you solve), so that they can get this result (insert the result you get that solves the problem).

Then consider giving a brief example such as: “We worked with ABC Company. They were experiencing [PROBLEM]. We went in and did this [EXPLAIN WHAT YOUR COMPANY DID] and the result was [STATE RESULT].”

If the person you’re talking to is dealing with that problem they will begin to engage and ask questions. You can even ask them if they see similar problems in their industry.

Notice that you are having a conversation. You are not selling. But you are getting a sense as to whether this company may be a potential client. If they don’t seem to be, you can even ask if they know of any other companies in their industry that you should contact.

Finally be sure to ask how you can help and support them. Can you introduce them to someone in your network that they’d like to meet? Can you offer them access to some online training, an educational report, a white paper, or survey results?

This is a networking system that has been proven to work.

In the next article (Part 2) I’ll share a few tips on how to move from a discovery call into a successful sales conversation.

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