Spend Your Time (And Money) Wisely! Use Social Selling To Build Relationships With Prospects

In the past, salespeople would frequently take prospects out to lunch or for a drink at the bar as a way to build relationships. But with the breakneck pace of today’s market, we understand that few salespeople have the time (or money) to regularly grab a meal or hit a few rounds of golf at the club with a potential customer.

Fortunately, the power of the Internet and social media provide a window of opportunity to build relationships with lots of people all at once for minimal cost. Social selling gives salespeople a chance to identify new prospects and start building a relationship without the cost or time commitment of a few steak dinners. 

You can share articles with businesspeople on LinkedIn. You can retweet an interesting link from one of your prospects to snag their attention. You can comment on a company’s blog. These are just a few of the many things salespeople can do to begin a relationship as well as better understand prospects’ pain points and issues they’re struggling with. 

With this in mind, here are five of our favorite tips for how to build relationships with prospects using social selling methods.

  1. Get to know people BEFORE reaching out to them: Never go into a meeting or call totally cold. Instead, use social media to scope out your prospects before you ever introduce yourself. You don’t even have to do this manually; some software tools allow you to seemingly “get into the mind” of prospects. There are a variety of ways to get data out of people without having to write emails or ask in person. 

  2. Give more than you get, at least initially: Be valuable to your prospects. Share free advice, offer cool stories and post useful videos. In short, do anything that helps your prospects solve their problems. The more value you provide, the more trust you gain. Then, when it’s time to position your product or service, you’ll know exactly how to reach them because you know what their problems actually are. 

  3. Use software: With so many sales content platforms, sales automation tools and a host of ERP and CRM platforms out there, salespeople should never attempt social selling without help. These solutions monitor social interactions, track client relationships and log sales information. How have you connected with your prospect, “Bob”? Are you following him on Twitter? Are you friends on Facebook? Are you getting his newsletter? What’s he clicking on? What is he reading? How long is he spending on each article? These are all areas where technology is able to help you. 

  4. Use these tools to build best practices: If a video is getting lots of clicks and comments, learn from that information. Make more videos like that one because it’s connecting with your client base. Technology can also automate this entire process and provide analytics so you’re not guessing as to what’s resonating best with your clients. 

  5. Remember that this is a long-term effort: You may not sell something tomorrow or this month or this quarter. But as long as you have the right perspective, that’s OK. You might sell them something early next year. If you’re smart about nurturing the relationship, you’ll eventually be successful. Building a lasting sales relationship takes time. You want to think about people beyond the single transaction. 

The Tellwise Nutshell (TTN): When it comes to building relationships with prospects using social networks, take your time, give freely and focus on maintaining a great conversation. Use technology to score quantitative data around all of your social relationships. This is not a transactional effort; social selling is about becoming a trusted adviser.

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