With access to so much information, today’s buyers are able to do extensive research on their own, without talking to a sales person. Where does this leave you as a sales person in the process?? With significantly less influence over the buying decision.
But all is not lost, the opportunity is there for you to regain some of that influence. But it’s going to take some work. You need to make yourself much more visible and accessible to buyers, talking to them about issues and challenges that are relevant in their worlds because that’s what THEY care about.
Employers wouldn’t be out looking for new solutions if they were completely satisfied with what they currently have. This is your opportunity to show them how you can be a valuable resource and guide for resolving their employee challenges.
Create an online presence that attracts buyers
Make yourself attractive to buyers with a strong profile on LinkedIn. This is one of the first places buyers go to look up new people. It’s the default business search engine because it’s so easily accessible and popular among professionals.
LinkedIn has done extensive research on how online interactions impact the sales process. They call it social selling, which simply means that sales people are active in social media channels and use it as a way to connect with prospective clients.
LinkedIn has developed a Social Selling Index to measure activities that drive the behaviors they know lead to increased sales results.
You can find your own Social Selling Index (SSI) by going to LinkedIn Business Solutions. The easiest way to get there is to Google “LinkedIn SSI.” Click the “Get your score free” button. You must be logged in to LinkedIn for it to analyze your activity and return your score. You’ll see an aggregate score and four behavioral scores that make up the aggregate.
Let’s look at what drives each of these four behaviors and why they’re important for social selling.
Establishing a professional brand is having a completely filled in profile with photo, work experience, contact information, and a summary. This is important because buyers like engaging with people who they feel they know in some way. This gives them a glimpse at who you are, what you’ve done, and how you could potentially help them.
Engage with insights is being an active participant on LinkedIn by sharing your ideas and insights with your network. This can be done through written updates, sharing articles, posting videos, or PDF files that resonate with your audience. This is important because it’s your opportunity to focus completely on your buyers and what they want. They want to hear from you as a salesperson, but they want education and insights that can help them perform better in their jobs and drive improved results.
Find the right people is seeking out people to make new connections. You can do this in two primary ways using the LinkedIn search tools: look up people you know, and search for people who fit your criteria. This is important because the wider your network, the more opportunity you create for yourself with more points of contact and more opportunities for referrals and introductions.
Build relationships is making multiple connections within a single organization. This is important because decisions are made by multiple people in an organization – the decision-makers and the decision-influencers. You should be connected with all of them to effectively influence the sales process and buying decision.
The purpose of social selling is to build brand awareness, build personal relationships, and build confidence and trust with your audience through regular interaction that is educational, relevant, and useful.
To do this, there is a formula to keep in mind: The quality of your insights plus the frequency with which you share them works to build trust with your audience.
Buyers are looking for solutions to their challenges. Regain influence over the sales and buying process by making yourself easily accessible and visible online. Generously share ideas to help employers find those answers and you’ll be surprised at how you can be seen as a go-to resource.
Photo by Ion Chiosea