According to a report put together by A Sales Guy Consulting, social selling is defined as, “the process of using social media to prospect, research, engage, collaborate, network, teach and close all with the purpose of attaining quota and increasing revenue.” We know it’s a mouthful, but it’s important to understand each element of this definition. You hear a lot about social selling but not so much about social prospecting. That is, there is post after post out there about how to sell on social, but not nearly enough about where to find prospects to sell to. Without these prospects, you don’t have anyone to guide through your sales funnel.
So, you know you need to get on social to find prospects. But where do you start? Well, Twitter is a good place to begin. If you’re a social media newbie or just an old school salesperson, that might not mean a whole lot, so let’s break down what you need to do before diving into social prospecting and social selling.
Your company probably has a Twitter profile up and running with a social media person tweeting and engaging with customers on the company’s behalf. However, individual salespeople need to have their own personal profiles on Twitter as well in order to find and interact with potential customers. Setting up a thoughtful Twitter profile is the first step in asserting yourself as not just a representative of your company, but also as an expert in your industry.
Since your profile will be your first impression, it’s important that it contain key elements like a professional picture, logical handle, and appropriate bio. We’ve included a great blueprint for building the perfect Twitter profile.
Social Prospecting Starts With Expertise
With a profile in place, it’s time to establish yourself as an industry expert. This can be done by:
– Writing a Twitter bio that highlights your role and experience in your company and industry.
– Sharing original and curated content on a regular basis that shows off your knowledge and expertise
– Regularly re-tweeting, favorite-ing, and replying to tweets from not only other industry experts, but also from prospects.
These are just a few ways to assert yourself as expert on Twitter. The more you engage on this social channel, the more you show that you are a genuine authority in your field. And the more you show your genuine authority, the more likely it is you’ll connect and converse with the right prospects. The benefits of establishing yourself as an authority are two-fold; you’ll not only be promoting your company/product, you’ll also be positioning yourself as a desirable person to do business with. When you assert yourself as a knowledgeable source of information and not just a pushy salesperson, people will naturally want to do business with you.
Recognizing Buying Signals
Getting on Twitter gives you a unique opportunity to observe your prospects as they are in their everyday lives. You can learn more about them than you ever could before, based on their conversations, re-tweets, and favorites. By paying attention and monitoring your prospects, you can easily pick up on buying signals. These signals or events are the not-so-subtle hints your prospects give when they are interested in or ready to buy a product or service. And if you’re in the right place at the right time, they may very well buy your product or service.
To get slightly more technical, a buying signal is, “an indication of purchase intent,” from a potential buyer on social media, according to Social Media Today. These buying signals can be broken into two categories: hard and soft. Let’s say you’re a national furniture retailer. A hard signal would be a person tweeting about needing a new couch. Since you sell couches, this is the perfect opportunity to tweet to this prospect with a link to all the couches you offer on your website.
A soft signal would be someone tweeting about moving to a new city and having to leave behind all their furniture. You can approach this prospect by offering a guide to furniture shops in their area or design ideas for their new apartment. Either of these would be asserting yourself as an industry expert and as someone who wants to genuinely help this prospect. By approaching the prospect this way, you won’t be overtly pitching a sale, but you’ll instead create a relationship and nurture this lead to a sale.
By paying attention to these signals, you will find that there are prospects all over Twitter, just waiting for you to start engaging with them by offering valuable advice and perhaps a solution to their problem. With social selling and prospecting, it’s all about monitoring, listening, and offering your expertise as an industry salesperson. And in Part 2 of this series, we’ll discuss some practical ways to utilize these buying signals to make full use of Twitter as a robust social prospecting tool in your social selling strategy.
Download our Social Selling Study Results to learn more about how sales teams are utilizing social media to find and convert more leads.