What Is Social Selling and Where Do I Start?

Don’t let the hype about B-to-B social selling deceive you. Buyers have not reinvented the buying process. It has simply become a non-linear one. What is new are the sexy tools. However, using LinkedIn, Google+, blogging and YouTube effectively when prospecting isn’t sexy. It’s just a better process. Is social selling a revolution? No, it’s merely a chance for sales prospecting EVO-lution.

Don’t let the hype about B-to-B social selling deceive you. Buyers have not reinvented the buying process. It has simply become a non-linear one. What is new are the sexy tools. However, using LinkedIn, Google+, blogging and YouTube effectively when prospecting isn’t sexy. It’s just a better process.

Is social selling a revolution? No, it’s merely a chance for sales prospecting EVO-lution.

So let’s roll up our sleeves and discover: What is social selling and how are sellers generating more leads, faster? What is the process your sales team should be applying?

Social Selling Is a System
Let’s grip the wheel, firmly. Revolutions bring about change that make things easier or better. Has social media made your life easier lately? Are you getting more leads and closing them faster?

I rest my case!

Effective social selling is a system. Systems are not sexy.

A system is a repeatable process with a predictable outcome. Input goes in, certain things happen and out pops a result.

Social Prospecting: New but not Complex
The prospecting piece of social selling is mostly about:

  1. Getting buyers to respond and qualify faster, more often, and
  2. Turning response into dialogue that leads to a sale—faster, more easily

If anything is new about this process it’s the role direct response marketing techniques play. For example, social media copywriting is catching on.

The process today’s best social sellers are using generates leads faster by helping customers:

  • believe there is a better way (via short-form social content)
  • realize they just found part of it (using longer-form content) and
  • act—taking a first step toward what they want (giving you a lead)

Engagement and Trust Are not the Goals
Will you agree with me that engagement is not your sellers’ goal? Engagement is the beginning of a process. It’s a chance for front line reps and dealers to create response—and deeper conversation about a transaction.

If not, engagement is a chronic waste of your reps’ and dealers’ time.

I know “experts” insist that being trusted is a strategy. But it’s not.

It is the output of a successful prospecting strategy!

Increased trust is a sign your sellers are applying the process effectively. It’s not a goal!

As a small B-to-B business owner myself, I know what gets you paid. It’s not engagement. It’s not your image or personal brand.

You or your boss measures performance based on leads.

So let’s keep your social prospecting approach practical: Attention, engagement and a simple, repeatable way to create response more often. These are the components of an effective social selling system.

Why You Don’t Need a Social Selling Strategy

“What’s your social selling strategy?” I hear it all the time.
“You need one,” the experts insist.

But I say no, in most cases. Here’s why: Listen to what the experts say. Pay attention to what they say goes into a social selling strategy. Hint: It’s nothing new!

Yet we keep hearing “experts” claim listening is a new idea—or how we must get trusted to earn the sale.

So I give you permission to fire your social selling consultant or sales person if this is the best they can do.

What’s Your Telephone Strategy?
Not convinced? Consider how we don’t have B-to-B telephone strategies for prospecting. We have systems, approaches to applying the tool effectively. What defines our success in tele-prospecting?

Listening to customers? Nope. That’s the entry fee.

Trust? Nope. That’s the outcome we desire.

Success when dialing-for-dollars is based on if your system works—or not.

“You didn’t need a telephone strategy when the telephone was invented,” says sales productivity coach Philippe le Baron of LB4G Consulting.

“You learned how to use the new tool … to reach out to people you could never have dreamed of reaching … and get a face-to-face meeting with the ones who qualified.”

Today, tele-prospecting success has little to do with phone technology. It has everything to do with your telephone speaking technique—your conversational system.

Just the same, you don’t need a social media strategy today. You need a practical, repeatable process to increase sellers’ effectiveness (productivity) and make their output more predictable … using social media platforms.

Systems work for you. You don’t work for systems!

So don’t let gurus trick you into feeling like a laggard. Don’t let me catch you throwing money at sales trainers claiming buyers are fundamentally revolutionizing the way they buy. Focus on ways to:

  1. Get buyers to respond and qualify faster, more often, and
  2. Turn response into dialogue that leads to a sale—faster, more easily

Good luck. Let me know how I can help!

My Best Tips for Writing Response-Generating Emails

When writing sales emails don’t forget to get readers curious—create questions in their minds. It’s the best way to get more response. Today, I’ll show you a simple, effective way to write email that gets customers asking you questions. Philippe Le Baron, a sales productivity coach, has cracked the nut. He figured out how to make customers respond to him in sales emails. He writes to make customers curious about him—in a way they cannot resist acting on. The result: Prospects respond to him more often. Customers reply to get clarity on thoughts his emails provoke.

When writing sales emails don’t forget to get readers curious—create questions in their minds. It’s the best way to get more response. Today, I’ll show you a simple, effective way to write email that gets customers asking you questions.

A Quick B-to-B Example
Philippe Le Baron, a sales productivity coach, has cracked the nut. He figured out how to make customers respond to him in sales emails. He writes to make customers curious about him—in a way they cannot resist acting on. The result: Prospects respond to him more often. Customers reply to get clarity on thoughts his emails provoke.

In LinkedIn InMail or regular email always remember: Plant seeds in your prospects’ minds. Then, create an urge to find out more details using what customers really want as bait.

Get them asking more questions that lead them toward what you sell.

Where to Start
Let’s say you have a LinkedIn Group or e-newsletter where sales prospects subscribe and receive your updates.

You’re probably presenting tips, tricks, answers and shortcuts. But are you writing in ways that create more questions in the minds of buyers? This is the part most sellers forget. They rely too much on formal call to action.

Make sure you create an urge in readers. Speak to them in ways that provoke them … get them to hit reply and ask for details about the thought you just sparked.

Quick example: Philippe Le Baron has a LinkedIn group called Sales Productivity 2.0. His group is filled with prospects who receive occasional updates from him via LinkedIn email. Recently, Le Baron sent an email to prospects.

Follow his simple template by:

  • Making an offer specific to buyers’ seasonal needs.
  • Being useful by giving simple “next steps” to act on the need.
  • Creating curiosity by being action-oriented yet incomplete.

Step 1: Make a Sympathetic Offer
Philippe is making offers specific to seasonal objectives of his prospects. His email starts with, “Here are 3 easy ways to measure your sales management efforts better in 2014.”

Philippe then explains why most of his customers tend to fail. He makes it clear quickly. In essence he communicates, “I understand what you are struggling with.”

He continues with “Improving the impact of your effectiveness as a sales manager can be very tricky, that’s why most sales managers …” Here, Philippe bullet-points his buyers’ pain. He takes special care to include how it feels to fail. This opens the door to talk about his cure … a prescription for improvement.

Step 2: Tell Them ‘You CAN,’ Then Show Them How
Next, Philippe quickly gives prospective buyers what they want: Three simple steps that sound easy to act on. He gives this advice following the Golden Rule of copywriting: Help your customers believe they can; get them confident in themselves.

Tell them they can do it, then immediately arm them with weapons to succeed. Show them how. In his email, Philippe writes:

“Improving the effectiveness of sales managers is actually much simpler than most people think: you only need to focus on 3 very specific things…

  1. the duration of your weekly 4cast meeting
  2. the specific sales management productivity metrics you measure
  3. the coaching questions you ask once you’ve adopted the right ‘Lion Tamer’ mindset”

Philippe’s use of the phrases “much simpler than most people think” and “3 very specific things” help create curiosity.

Other words and phrases that create curiosity include:

  • Unusual
  • Odd
  • Simple technique
  • Different
  • One small thing
  • Surprising

Step 3: Get Them Intensely Curious
Philippe plants seeds. He creates a call to action without actually making the call. He creates intense, irresistible curiosity about himself.

Philippe’s three tips create more questions in customers’ minds. Questions that he knows buyers will have a deep, burning urge to get answered.

These include:

  • What is a 4cast meeting? Is that like a forecast meeting?
  • What are the best productivity metrics? Am I measuring the right ones?
  • What do you mean “Lion Tamer” mindset? That sounds like something I should know about if I want to succeed.

These questions pop into the heads of readers by design. Philippe is getting customers to respond more often because he is prompting them to ask these questions—questions that ultimately relate to what he sells.

Yet the prospect isn’t being “sold to” at all. That’s the beauty of these social media copywriting tips. Prospects are conversing with Philippe. They’re warming up as leads.

All based on the structure of his email message—the words he uses and the timing of those words.

Try This 3-Step Process
Customers want email messages, blog posts, YouTube videos and social media updates that help them:

  1. believe there is a better way
  2. realize they just found it (through you!) and
  3. ACT on that realization—to get what they want (giving you a lead)

That’s why Philippe uses the technique across all digital media to drive more leads his way (not just email).

Philippe writes in a way that customers cannot resist. They become curious and cannot help but reach out and contact him. Why? To get clarity on the thoughts his messages are provoking in their minds.

Good luck applying these tips for writing effective emails in your business!