Last week I dropped a question out to my LinkedIn audience asking sales people a question how they go about prospecting and engaging with their prospects. The response was very good and threw up some interesting points. Given the input I thought I would put a blog post together and explain further the way I look at it and have done for the past three years, using the principles of Social Selling. (Half of those three years I didn’t even know I was Social Selling).
The response was very good and threw up some interesting points.
Given the input I thought I would put a blog post together and explain further the way I look at it and have done for the past three years, using the principles of Social Selling.
Before we go on, I need to say that (in my opinion), D and A could be coupled together as you will likely research using social media and C and B can be interchangeable as it may be that you see an email taking place before a call or vice versa. Angus Grady points this out too:
So, the majority of those who commented on the post went for DAC/B. For me, that is my answer and what I would do and let me explain why;
Research (Option D)
At this point you’ll know who your target prospects are via your buyer persona. You now need to research where these buyers are online. In my world, the two key places will be LinkedIn and Twitter. I will use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to narrow down on my target market then locate them and follow via Sales Nav.
You now need to research where these buyers are online.
In my world, the two key places will be LinkedIn and Twitter. I will use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to narrow down on my target market then locate them and follow via Sales Nav.
At this point I will look at their recent activity or blog posts to see if there is anywhere I can join in (and add value), to any conversation they are part of / posts they have shared. This is where you can find an opening.
I might also ‘follow’ them on LinkedIn too. In addition to the above, I may use a tool to find out whereas the prospect is active on social. Sometimes, their Twitter profile might be available on LinkedIn so I’d look to follow them there too.
In addition to the above, I may use a tool to find out whereas the prospect is active on social. Sometimes, their Twitter profile might be available on LinkedIn so I’d look to follow them there too.
Social Media Engagement (Option A)
We are now at a point where we are able to act upon the preparatory work above.
When it comes to engagement, one key thing to bear in mind is patience.
Versus the immediacy of a cold call, where you really have to launch into an elevator pitch scenario seconds after speaking to someone you’ve never spoken to before (how un-natural does that sound?).
With social media you can start a far more natural conversation with someone, allowing them to get to know who you are. You might engage with someone for weeks before even discussing business related topics.
The key thing here is that you are becoming liked, known and trusted.
One of the best business related compliments I’ve had recently was from Kevin Anderson.
We’d been connected on Social Media for a couple of months, and he suggested to meet that we meet up as he ‘feels like he knows me’. That is not where everyone needs to get to, but at the same time, that means you’ve pretty much done your job of becoming liked, known and trusted!
Call OR Email
Intuition plays a big role in Social Selling. You have to be smart enough to know when to reach out.
If it doesn’t feel right, or still feels cold, then you’re not quite ready to do it. The reach out should feel warmer.
If you reach the gatekeeper and you supply the name of said prospect, you want to have made such an impression on them that they know who you are and will freely welcome the call.
That’s the goal.
It may be from that call that you are invited to send a sales deck via email or set an appointment. Who knows where it might go from there, but due to your application of Social Selling, it’s gotten you to a place that a straight cold call wouldn’t.
So if we go back to the top, let’s take a look at some of the other answers:
Let’s take a look at my colleague Ollie’s comments:
DABC – research and social lend themselves to each other. Research enables the cold email and call to become warmer – even if their social is not “strong”. All about making the most of the data you can find, and not using the social data is mindless. If you can find out the prospect loves Liverpool FC, or loves cooking Indian food etc, you are slouching back into the same ballpark as other reps selling using weaker data. Use the data you can find, all of it where useful
Ollie is highlighting that when you are engaging with your prospect, that you can find commonalities and use these to your advantage when communicating.
This is key!
I’d also like to highlight this post too from Jill Powell:
For me its D, C. A and E.
I build my own database as I go along so D has to come first, I like to make an introductory call first, at this point I do email them but I rarely email first, and only if I can’t get through on the phone.
I am learning to play with social media. I’m not afraid to pick up the phone, after years of doing it I realised they have no idea who I am and if the call doesn’t work out right you can always call again at a later stage and it is the only way of getting questions answered.
Whilst this isn’t the approach I would take it seems to work for Jill in this instance.
It will come down to your industry in the end and being flexible is something you have to keep in mind for sales success. Also, and quite rightly, Jill highly values the use of the phone.
Don’t be confused into thinking social selling is not about using the phone – it is, it’s just about using it in a smarter way!
My main take away from the LinkedIn post is that sales people generally do have things in the right order. I would simply stress to be more patient and engage in deeper but friendlier conversations before lifting that phone or sending that email. Based on the results, it looks like some people are already Social Selling without knowing it.
Once you realise you are and it’s working for you then you should build on that!
To help expand on the above and find out what a more thorough version of Social Selling might be… So, if you would like to make your role more enjoyable and increase your chances of success, learn more about Social Selling via the Creation Agency course by Jack Kosakowski, Social Selling 101.
Take away the pain (for most of us) of that cold call and make it a warm and friendly experience.
About the Author: Gary Farmer is the Social, Sales and Marketing Consultant at Creation. Gary’s role is to help clients use social selling and find new ways to optimise their processes. Outside of work, Gary likes to make playlists on Spotify and Soundcloud due to his love of electronic music.