Messaging in social selling is very important if you want to take conversations offline and to get initial conversations started.
It is the key part of taking a conversation forward and a part of connecting with a person while you build a relationship with them, so it is worth spending the time to evaluate the effectiveness and strategy of your messaging.
Map out the strategy and process
The strategy is at least 50% of the key to effective messaging, so it’s important that you nail it.
The best way to map it out simply is to work backwards, consider the following and note your answers:
- What is the best way to have a prospect enter the sales process? (demo, discovery call, face to face meeting, etc)
- What information do you need to know from a prospect before you can uncover their true needs or problems? (leadership decisions, specific examples from within the company)
- What events or criteria define a good account? (Industry changes, new senior member of staff, etc)
- What defines a good prospect? (Director level, C Suite level, lower level champion, etc)
- What is the best channel and method to create initial conversation? (LinkedIn connection, Twitter, etc)
Enhancing your messaging language
If your strategy is good and your execution is poor, you can still get some results.
If your strategy is bad and your execution is good, you will find getting results very hard.
I find it important be 100% sure that your strategy is water tight, and test it before you really spend tons of time on messaging evaluation.
Once you feel you’re ready to go and test your messaging, give it a shot and test it with plenty of time and prospects. My favourite thing about messaging is tweaking it in tiny ways to make it more effective, so keep the premise of what you are saying in your messages the same but tweak certain words or phrases.
You may find that certain words sound salesy but felt like they fitted in perfectly the first time you used your new messaging formula, so keep an open mind about making tweaks.
I like to also copy a few of my messages that I have sent at different stages of the conversation. I will copy them and read the messages on an email to myself on my phone to check that the messages do not look like a novel to read.
As with any sales email, voicemail or anything else, a big long message can turn some prospects off. If it isn’t effortless to read and respond to, tweak it.
Make your messages short and sweet where you can.
The last thing anybody wants when they agree to answer a question is a huge essay sized question.
As I mentioned, making your messages pages long is a turn off for anyone having a conversation.
When you aren’t making life easy for a prospect, they look for a reason to not deal with your message. Im too busy, that’s not my area, the list goes on.
So the first thing to check is that you are making things short and sweet, easy to respond to.
Save the big questions for later on when you are speaking, nothing too heavy over social.
Second, if you do have to ask an in-depth question you need to make the prospect feel as though you want their individual perspective.
If you ask me about the most important thing happening in sales right now is, I can rightly feel like the answer to the question is going to be very big and long. But if you ask me what I personally find interesting right now in the sales industry, I’ll tell you that the way AI is coming into the industry is very interesting.
The point is, use specifics that will narrow down what the prospect feels they need to say in their answer. Use words like “you”, “specifically”, “right now” and the like. You will get a more specific, personalised response.
Third, asking a very in depth question too early on in the conversation is another easy way for a prospect to feel like they have a good reason to not deal with what you are asking. If you probe too much too soon, you’re pushing and almost asking them to marry before they know you very well.
The best way to work around this is to remember your goal with social selling is to take the conversation offline where you then dive into the real needs and goals and problems the prospect has.
That is the time to ask the bigger questions.
Lastly, not having enough personalisation in messaging is a very quick way to tell a prospect you don’t care about them at all and are trying to sell something.
If you show up on their LinkedIn profile with a message about “adding you to my professional network” without personalising the message and even more importantly, explaining why you want to connect and talk you will not get as good results as you want.
Find a good reason to connect, a good question.
Is their company hiring for a new C level executive that will impact the prospect and their work?
Ask them how they think things will change on the new hire’s arrival.
Is there a significant change in their industry?
Link into this as context for connecting.
Do they have a LinkedIn pulse article that is really good?
Ask a question about it and share it.
I really love working on messaging, so please message me on LinkedIn or Twitter to talk about it. I will happily look at what you have created and help make it better, and if you want to test yourself try and come up with some clever messaging to connect with me…
About the Author: Ollie Whitfield is a Social Selling Executive at The Creation Agency. Ollie helps clients use social selling and find new ways to optimise their processes. When Ollie isn’t working, he’s usually found playing a few games of pool or football. You can connect with him on Twitter.