I can hear my mom giving me my first social selling lesson over 40 years ago, “Gerard Michael Moran, look five times before you cross that street!” Why did my mom want me to go through what seemed to be and extreme exercise to do a simple task? Well, she wanted to set me up for success to make it to the other side of the road. “Having more information before you act will keep you alive and make you successful” was what she always said.
What great selling advice that was, even in the 1970’s! If you check multiple sources of customer data and activity before you contact them, then you will be completely informed and set up for success. KA-Ching! In other words, check out everything you can find on LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, Facebook and blogs before you contact your customer for the first time.
5 Social Selling Tips To Get To Know Your Customer Better Before You Call Them
CSO Insights reports 42% of sales professionals feel they are unprepared for sales calls. So, here are five ways to get better prepared and decrease that percentage to 0%!
1. Google your customer and start with reviewing the search results. Hey, 89% of buyers start their buying process with a search engine, so you should use the same strategy to start your selling process. Check out the first two pages and notice your customers’ pictures, associations, where they have donated, and their social media channels to get an authentic snapshot of your customer. Make an assessment of the search results to identify conversation starters to increase the success of your outreach.
2. Look deep into LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the hub of most individual’s digital, social and business lives. With the super power that LinkedIn provides, ever social selling sales professional has the power to reach out directly to almost every business card carrying individual in the world. Because you have this power, does not mean you should use it. It is unlikely that your customer would respond to a cold call, especially since research tells us that over 90% of these types of emails and phone calls are never returned. Use your social selling CSI skills to understand your customer’s group engagement.
3. Test out Twitter for the business contacts and content that is respected and important to your customers. With over 40% of B2B decision-makers on Twitter, there is a good chance that some of your customers are tweeting! Twitter gives you open-book access to key information about your them. If you are not using it to better inform your first contacts or to help you deepen your relationships, then you are missing out! Check out their tweets, retweets, favorites, whom they are following, and their lists to understand the type of content and issues are of important to them. These are all excellent conversation starters to help customize your first communication with them.
4. Find where your customer blogs, whether it’s on their own site, on LinkedIn or on their company site. Reading a customer’s blog gives you great insight into their very thoughtful communication. If they blog regularly, then their site will likely be listed on their LInkedIn and Twitter profiles. Their blog will likely show up in a Google search too! Pay attention to their topics and their responses to other’s comments, which will give you great insight into what they value. And, when you eventually reach out to your customer, mention their blog. That reference will take you a long way to getting in the door, virtual or otherwise.
5. Delve into Facebook for personal interests. Do you have a wine, craft beer or NASCAR connection with your customer? Tying in a personal passion is a great button to push to make an authentic connection. Sellers who reach out to me are always referencing my affinity for Bruce Springsteen and craft beer. That reference always prompts a response from me, since I feel as if we all belong to the same ‘virtual club’. If your target customer has not invoked their Facebook privacy settings, then peruse their profile to determine if there is another type of connection. Complementing your communication with a hobby tie-in is like icing on the social selling cake.
If you are looking to further develop your sales preparation or hone your social selling skills, then you might enjoy these other posts:
- Social Selling. It’s A Piece Of Cake.
- With Great LinkedIn Power Comes Great Social Selling Responsibility
- Tweet Better Sell More.
Now that you have collected all of this data, don’t just pick up the phone and ‘ask for the date’. First engage on social media and then on the phone or email. 73% of B2B decision makers connect with vendors via social media, so this type of repartee is accepted and should be maximized. Getting on your customer’s social radar will help further increase the success of one chance you have to make a good first impression with your phone call or email.
Yes, I am actually still looking 5 times before ‘cross the street’, but as I got older and wiser, I look a few more times. I’m not sure if my mother agrees with my self-assessment of being wiser. Ha! This reminds me of a silly joke, why did the salesman cross the road to make a call to his customer? Because he looked 5 times first!