Before you (or your friend, co-worker, family member, kid, etc.) go(es) on a first date, you probably do extensive research beforehand, right? You start with their social media pages to learn more about their personality, education, job, interests, etc. Basically, you’re vetting them to see if they’re worth yours or a loved one’s time. Your prospective customers are doing the same thing to you before they meet with or agree to talk with you. According to SalesCred, by SalesFuel CEO and President C. Lee Smith, “59% of decision-makers at small-to-midsize companies say they research the salesperson’s LinkedIn profile, job history, and social media posts and do a Google search on them before they will meet with the salesperson.” If you’re not already prepared for that investigation, you’re in desperate need of upgrading your social selling skills.
According to Jay Fuchs, writing for HubSpot, “Solid social selling skills are transitioning from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have for sales professionals.” Here are three of the top social selling skills he says sales reps need:
- Leveraging information on social media
- Using multiple platforms
- Be yourself
Must-Have Social Selling Skills
Leveraging Information on Social Media
Your prospects regard the information they’re trying to find about you online as crucial. If they can find the information they want, and it’s what they want to see, they’ll be more interested in meeting with you. So, one of the most important social selling skills sales reps can hone is properly leveraging their information on their social media profiles. Specifically, says Fuchs, you should be, “leveraging social media to find common ground and build rapport with prospects.”
One of the most effective ways to establish common ground with a prospective customer using only social media is having mutual connections. For one, mutual connections let them know that you’re not some random person they have nothing in common with. Two, that social connection gives the prospect the opportunity to ask the mutual connection about you. You can also do the same thing about the prospect and use the connection as a way to get your foot in the door with the prospect. So, don’t be overly stingy on who you connect with on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Who knows, they could come in handy for future sales.
You can also build rapport with prospects by being open about your interests on social media. Share posts about your alma mater, your pets or kids, and popular shows you like and sports teams you root for. Your prospect could be interested in the same things, and that can establish an emotional connection.
Using Multiple Platforms
Not all people are active on every social media platform. And different platforms are known for different things. For example, LinkedIn is obviously the professional side of social media while Facebook profiles primarily focus on personal interests. Another of the most important social selling skills for sales reps to possess is managing multiple social media profiles across various platforms. Your information needs to be available where your prospects are searching for you. Update each of your profiles accordingly.
No matter what social media platform you’re posting on, it’s important that you’re being yourself. If you post nothing but overly professional and generic content or just share posts with no comment of your own attached, you’ll just come off as impersonal and maybe even robotic. Prospects want to do business with people they feel they can connect with. So, be yourself. Make posts using your own voice and surrounding your own interests. It’s one of the easiest ways to flex your social selling skills.