Something happened to us all, I’m not sure when it happened in the last 10 years but it did. We used to telephone companies and ask for a brochure and one would arrive, maybe 3 days later. That is where we all got our information. We used to get our news from newspapers, if it was a couple of days old. Nobody cared. Now we watch, news in real-time, 24 hours a day.
For better or for worse the pace of life has got quicker. If we want information, we go to the internet and get it. Just like that. Want information on a new car, we can research it on-line, instantaneously, we can configure it. There is no need to talk to a salesman. We can do it all though a mobile phone. We may not like this change in pace and speed of information, but it’s there, we cannot change it, we just have to go with it.
This change in the way we buy (and sell) has had a massive impact on commerce. Only a few years ago we needed a website and now we need it mobile enabled. One minute the salesperson holds all the information and they only way they can tell people about it, is to call them up and interrupt them. Now, we can research products and services, draw up a short list and make a decision without even speaking to a salesperson.
Social Selling is the sellers response to this new informed buyer and the internet economy. The first thing you will notice is the name. It has the dreaded word “sales” in it. This is the mistake people often make is that social selling is selling over social. It isn’t. In fact it’s the opposite. Nobody likes being sold too. In fact the reason why we go on-line and prefer buying without talking to a salesperson is the fact. We don’t like being sold too.
I’m sorry, but us sales people have a bad rap. We have all been manipulated, had that cold caller try and sell us something we don’t want. They just don’t take no for an answer. So what is social selling?
We really there are two parts:-
- According the CEB now Gartner, buyers are 57% of the way through the buying process before they contact a salesperson. Now they can be 35% or 80%, but the fact of the matter is that salespeople are being cut out the buying process. Let us put ourselves in the shoes of the buyer. When we research a purchase we consume content. We read articles, blogs, Youtube videos so we can understand the options. A friend of mine runs a baby massage service. In the old days they would have called people up, interrupted them and asked if you wanted to buy a baby massage. Just writing this I can feel a comment like “no and stop calling me” welling up inside. Now they write articles such as “Top 10 things you can do to get a good nights sleep as a new parent”. Most of the enquiries come through at 04:00 AM in the morning, when new parents reading the article certainly think a baby massage might be a good idea.
- The second thing us sellers can do is be the solution to a buyers problem. In the world of Business to Business (B2B) sales that I live in. Companies are searching for solutions too problems. They do this again on-line, but I have crafted an on-line personal brand, which is my active and passive social profiles presented as a way that when people see them they realise I can help them. As a (small) company, we put out an original, insightful or educational piece of content out everyday and we get three pieces of inbound. We don’t cold call, we don’t cold email and we don’t advertise.
This is how companies large and small are realising how the internet and social media have changed the world and are now reacting to meet and engage with this new empowered buyer.
This is why more and more business now choose social selling as business as usual (BaU).
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