by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia
At Digital Leadership Associates a fair amount of our time is teaching teams to be social sellers, partly it’s because this is one of the things that we’re really passionate about, and partly because it’s something that clients desperately need/want.
Because of this we get to have quite a large number of people/students pass through our hands and this enables us to see at scale what those who go on to be really successful all have. That’s not to say that it isn’t possible to be successful if you don’t have all of these attributes…but we have seen these traits as a strong correlation to success.
So here are those top 6 cornerstones:
The most crucial element of successful social selling is without doubt their personal brand. The two elements of their personal brand are their passive presence (what their profiles look like) and their active behaviour (how they behave online). The passive bit…how the profiles look is the most crucial. If you Google yourself you will probably find that the highest entry for you is your LinkedIn profile, so this makes it the most visible page about you on the internet. So it’s worth investing some time in it and it’s worth getting it right and all successful social sellers have done this. As for the behaviour, they make sure that they are there writing good content, sharing good content and helping people. If you think about how you might differentiate between two prospective suppliers (or people you might call, or perhaps see for a meeting) you would go online and check them out. You would read what they said about themselves, you would read what others’ said about them and you would see how they behaved. The most likely person to be chosen is the person you yourself would choose. Someone who was charming, well connected, regularly writes interesting things and has loads of reasons to pick them. Social sellers invariable look like nice people and certainly they regularly share their expertise.
The key to success is a big network (there are caveats though). If your network doesn’t know who you are and never reads anything you share…then it makes no difference how big or small it is you won’t be able to get any value from it. But, given that everything is in place and you are recognised within your network…the bigger the network the better. With 5% of your network seeing something you post a doubling of the size of the network means a doubling of the number of people who see stuff. Simple really. Social sellers all have large networks. You don’t need 30k LinkedIn connections, but you should be measuring your network in thousands rather than hundreds. Social sellers make sure that they are constantly expanding their networks with connections who may be of use to them or who they may be of use to. Size for its own sake adds no value. Remember that expanding your network BEFORE you have a compelling personal brand is a risky strategy because you only get one chance to make a first impression and if you connect to someone looking like spammer…they will forever ignore you.
You must be visible on your social networks. Social sellers have added the keywords/phrases that they want to be known for on their LinkedIn profile they also make sure that they use right hashtags on Twitter. They want to make sure that when people are looking to solve a problem THEY look like the obvious choice. So if you want to be known as an “SME management accountant” you need to make sure that your profile says that. Exactly that and fairly often because when I search for that phrase LinkedIn (and Google) will serve up the results they think are most fitting to that search and of that phrase isn’t in your profile the search engine can’t know that’s what you’re good at.
Their network will always be well engaged. Writing good content and posting regularly is of no value of nobody in the network reads anything that they share. Their network associates them with quality – being that person who always shared rubbish doesn’t buy credibility, neither does simply auto-sharing other people’s content. You too must share lots and you must comment on other people’s posts even more. This engagement is front and centre of being known, being recognised and being liked…and of your network like you you know you are moving in the right direction.
There needs to be a sense of community around you. Social sellers want to be recognised as an expert and they want to be liked, because if they are they know that people within their network will recommend them as the go-to person in their industry. This doesn’t happen overnight but it will happen in the end.
It always seems that the word blogging strikes fear in to the heart of sales people, but it needn’t. Blogging is simply a technique that every salesperson needs to develop to be good at their job in the modern world. Great social sellers are frequent bloggers. They have a strong sense of their own voice and they share their best advice and their top tips and tricks to anyone who will listen because…unlike in the old economy where your secret IP was your USP…now your IP is your best sales tool. Social sellers recognise this and exploit it.
There are may other things that you will need to do to become a great social seller, but if you manage all of these things you will be well on the way there. The thing about becoming a social seller is that it isn’t in many ways selling. Create a big enough and a compelling enough persona online and the business will come to you.
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