Social selling is so much more than cold spam or spray-and-pray tactics.
You would be forgiven for thinking that the term social selling refers to those awful spray-and-pray messages we all receive, where the seller sends you a connection request, and if you accept, they immediately proceed to send cold pitches into your direct messages.
Social selling is so much more than that though, which is why at Six Sells we prefer to call it social networking.
Those connect-then-pitch messages have such a low conversion rate, and we believe it is a really poor way to start a new relationship.
To understand why that approach doesn’t work (and what does work) we need to look at the b2b buyers’ journey.
There are six stages to the b2b buyers’ journey, which are sequential, and no step can be skipped.
The six stages of the B2B buyers journey are:
1 – Awareness
2 – Interest
3 – Consideration
4 – Intent
5 – Evaluation
6 – Purchase
A cold message to somebody who is not aware of you or your company is trying to land at the Consideration phase (3).
However, we know that if around 95% of people are not in-market for what you are selling today, they are unlikely to consider your cold sales messages, especially if they have no Awareness or Interest in you, your company, and the solutions you provide.
So why do only 1 in 100 people respond to this tactic? Perhaps it’s because 1 in a 100 is roughly the odds of finding somebody who is aware, interested, and in-market today via a spray-and-pray model.
Build awareness and interest where people are paying attention:
LinkedIn is like a cross between the best networking event in your industry, and the best trade press title, only it is live, and open 365 days a year.
However, 90% of LinkedIn’s members are what we call ‘lurkers’ which means that they never post content, or interact with others content. They treat LinkedIn like a curated, live, personalised newsfeed for them and their industry, so to influence them, you must have a consistent, frequent cadence of content in the newsfeed.
If you’re not posting content in the newsfeed then you are invisible, and missing out on the opportunity to be a part of the content your ideal clients are reading on a daily basis.
Content is key:
Posting native, short-form stories in the newsfeed works well because people are scrolling through their newsfeed looking for something of interest to read. They don’t necessarily want to click away to a blog post, so give them what they want natively in the newsfeed.
People will of course still click to blog posts (you’re reading this one are you not?) but in smaller numbers. The volume of views will be achieved with consistent, frequent stories posted natively in the newsfeed.
As the social media influencer, Nuseir Yassin said on the Scott Galloway podcast recently “LinkedIn is a sleeping giant about to be stirred because the demand for content in the news feed exceeds the quality and supply”.
The opportunity for your sellers to help redress the delta between demand and supply is significant!
How do we get started with social networking on LinkedIn?
1 – Train your client-facing people to be competent and confident social networkers.
Everybody with a client-facing role and an interest in the revenue number should be involved, and should start thinking of LinkedIn as a 24/7 networking opportunity. Teach sellers how to identify, connect and engage with their ideal clients on a frequent and consistent basis.
2 – Create a content strategy for your business.
This might be three large topics (pillars) with 3-4 sub-topics per pillar. This is a guide which gives you consistency across all of your communications, no matter who is posting.
3 – Enable each seller with ghost-written personalised content.
You then need to work 1-2-1 with each of your client-facing people in order to deliver that content strategy in the voice of each of your people. If you produce one post and ask all to publish, you can tell from a mile off that this is not from that person, and you therefore lose credibility, trust and respect. Each post should be unique, and written for the seller, with that specific seller in mind.
We call the above 3-step process People-Shaped Marketing, and at Six Sells we currently deliver this exact process for hundreds of sellers across the world.
LinkedIn tips and tricks:
Here are just a few of the many things to consider when setting up a social selling/networking strategy.
⦿ – B2B should actually be P2P, meaning it is people to people.
People pay more attention to other people than company pages, so your client-facing people are key.
⦿ – Remember, humans, are wired for stories.
As Jordan Peterson said, “We think in stories, we frame the world in stories, we see in stories…” and as Dr Angus Fletcher said “My belief is that human cognition is largely narrative, and we process the world narratively” (plots, plans, narratives and goals). If you can tell short stories, with a consistent theme, frequently, you will get more attention from the people you wish to influence.
⦿ – Think brand building not direct response.
LinkedIn content is very much top-of-funnel activity designed to grab attention, and build awareness and interest over time. It also builds personal and brand reputation, familiarity, trust, and respect for those who are seen as authorities in their field.
⦿ – Two ears, one mouth, correct ratio.
Too many people on social platforms like LinkedIn are set to broadcast. The inconvenient truth however is that people care about them and theirs a lot more than they care about you and yours, so to build relationships, it pays to listen to your prospects, to be interested in their content, and to thoughtfully join those conversations.
⦿ – Check your SSI score.
Your SSI (social selling index) is LinkedIn’s way of keeping score for you – how good are you at using the platform for social selling? The algorithm scores you across four components, which are:
1 – Establish your professional brand
2 – Find the right people
3 – Engage with insights
4 – Build relationships
The SSI will be quoted as a number out of 100, and four sub-scores for the above and anybody can check theirs by visiting https://www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi (make sure you are logged into LinkedIn beforehand)