The subject of selling has interested me since I used to work in a wine merchant when I was 20. Usually, when customers visited the shop they were ready to buy and had a good idea of what they wanted. The social selling buyers journey is similar, they can find our information from many sources still although now it can be faster and more precise information as the reach of social media is huge.
Sometimes we would have customers that purchased large quantities of drink for events they were having, so wanted expert advice as to how many bottles to purchase and whether they should have beer as well etc, so we acted more of a trusted adviser than managers.
This is so similar to the steps that today’s buyer takes when looking for the right service provider, they actually spend a considerable amount of time researching as to the company or consultancy business who are qualified enough to help them with their problem.
According to Forrester Research, on average, buyers are 90% of the way through their buying journey before they ever talk to sales. This is staggering information for the sales team, if not social selling are they really fulfilling their roles just as order takers and negotiators or relationship builders without being involved in marketing?
The buyer education process has taken many months or even years in some cases, the marketing education and wealth of information that’s available has created a well-informed buyer who is nearly sure he wants to do business with your company and buy the solutions you provide.
I have likened social selling to picking blueberries, if you try to pick the unripe ones you will get a bitter taste in your mouth, if you try to pick the ones that are too far away from you then you could drop them on the ground and if you try to pick too many at once then you risk dropping some on the floor on the way to the basket.
There are many factors that can influence the buying decision, the most important are industry influencers, inside influencers, the sales team and of course the price and solution. Hence why the education process has to softly sell the answers to all the possible questions and to give the client and influencers an understanding of the price and value.
Marketing campaigns from your industry have been convincing the buyer that he or she needs your solution, some may have been slightly too hard in their style and or not provided the correct social proof when their website was looked at and then that person jumped to your competitors business to make a purchase.
So what we can do as social salespeople is we can be part of this process and mingle with our potential clients so that they buy into our personalities and skill sets so that even before we meet them we get a feeling that they not only want to do business with us but they have bought into our way of doing things.
This all relates to the content strategy that your company should have for each of its employees on social media, if they share your corporate jargon without humanizing themselves then you are actually damaging your sales funnel rather than filling it up with quality leads that will convert with minimal effort from Sales.
If you are interested in social selling and maximizing it then please let me know @natschooler on Twitter or email nat @ natschooler.com