How to Grow Your Customer Relationships Through Social Selling
With more than 1 billion active users on social media, you’ll never run out of potential customers and business opportunities.
In the age of social media, customer relationship management has evolved from simply managing your contacts to managing your customer relationships through engagement and social selling. According to recent research from Salesforce, 66% of B2B buyers consult social media while researching a purchase decision, so it’s important to have an effective presence on social media platforms. To get started, here are some basics to grow your customer relationships through social selling.
What is social selling?
You might think of social selling as a new kind of sales pitch that takes place on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. But, it’s actually more about building relationships with potential customers through those channels. It’s about enhancing your company brand and generating leads through engagement, rather than solely advertising yourself or your product on these platforms. As such, successful social selling involves both personal and professional profiles—think LinkedIn, for example.
Why social selling?
For years, social selling has been heralded as a better way for salespeople to do their jobs. This is mainly due to social media’s ability to scale personal connections between buyers and sellers by empowering sales teams with real-time data. Data that helps reps have better conversations with prospects and makes it easier for them to understand buyer behaviors—and why they buy.
Is social selling effective?
Use social selling for more than just selling. The best salespeople aren’t just interested in making sales—they want to build relationships with their customers. As part of their customer relationship management (CRM) strategy, they’ll be looking for every opportunity possible to grow those relationships, not just close deals. That means spending time on social media and through other channels—not just when they’re talking about your products or services directly.
Grow your network
The first step in social selling is to grow your network and gather as many contacts as possible. Use LinkedIn and other professional networks to connect with customers, prospects, and even competitors. You can do so using both your personal profile and the company’s page. Once you’ve joined a few groups related to your business, you can reach out directly to group members.
Be a good listener
The secret to connecting with people, according to social selling experts, is being a good listener. From one-on-one conversations in your local networking group to one-to-many through your email marketing campaigns—make sure you’re listening more than you’re talking. Be genuinely interested in what other people have to say—and don’t talk at them; talk with them. Building customer relationships takes time—it doesn’t happen overnight or after just one interaction.
Instead, it happens over multiple interactions where both parties are invested in each other and truly listen to each other. But, before you can do that effectively, you need to learn how to listen better first. Without sounding too pushy or intrusive, asking questions can help draw someone out, so they feel comfortable opening up to you about their needs and wants.
As a salesperson, you know that selling is just one part of a larger process. Establishing an effective client relationship includes learning as much as possible about your customers—before, during, and after each interaction. Whether through social selling or other channels, actively seeking ways to engage with customers can help build trust and grow mutually beneficial relationships.
You’ll have more opportunities to present products and services that better suit their needs—and they’ll become more receptive to what you have to offer.