Buying has changed. The internet, social media and mobile has all changed the way we buy.
Anybody can go online and search for your products and services, in fact they probably are right now. We have always (well in my 25 year career we have) tried to engage with prospects early on in the sales cycle, so we can influence these buyers. In the past we called up people and talked to them early on in the sales cycle so their requirements matched with our unique selling points (USPs). When these clients started looking at other suppliers, the competition couldn’t meet those requirements, because they were our USPs.
I was contacted today if I would like to respond to a RFP (request for proposal) which I of course declined as another supplier will have written that RFP and will have already being talking with the client.
With social we are doing the same, but engaging early with the client using the internet, social media and mobile.
In addition to this change in the buying process is the change in attitude of the buyer. This does not need “social” per se, but a different psychology. In the past people put up with a sales person calling them up, but now there are so many things that the buyer can implement to stop “the salesperson knocking”.
First, we have to realise that nobody gets up in the morning and says “the first thing I need to do is talk with a salesperson”. Salespeople have a bad rap and for good reason, we have all been manipulated by sales people, where they call you up and the only way other than being rude to them is saying yes. Nobody wants that, but it’s what we expect, which is why the internet social media and mobile allows us to review products and services in sales person avoidance mode.
Nobody is saying you shouldn’t sell, but on the basis nobody likes to be sold to, you will find you will get better results if you don’t. It’s psychology after all.
If you think about you buyer, in the Business to Business (B2B) space they are looking for somebody to help them. Again, you can try to push your products and services down the throats of prospects, but they are literally just one click away from your competition.
So what is social selling? Social selling is not selling on social, but it’s the reaction and process that sales people need to take to.
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