Remember the days of cold calling? A nervous salesperson would dial random companies and individuals who had never heard of the product he or she was selling, or—worse yet—had absolutely no interest in the service. Now, you likely wouldn’t even be able to get cold leads to pick up the phone. According to Telenet and Ovation Sales Group, it took 3.68 cold call attempts on average to connect with a prospect. In 2013, that number became 8 attempts. So now, cold calling is even more time consuming with the same, or even worse, results.
With social selling, cold calling is a thing of the past. Social media can help every salesperson enter a call with either a connection to a prospect or sufficient information to ensure the call is a success. Social selling is more effective for businesses and less annoying to prospects.
When a lead is contacted by a business or individual he or she knows, that lead is exponentially more likely to show interest in the service. According to a study from Reachable, and cited by Business Insider, small business owners who have a personal connection to a lead are 5X more likely to receive a returned call from that lead. So for every 1,000 calls, 849 are returned, as opposed to a return rate of 345 if there’s no connection. But how can one person—or even a full team of salespeople—establish personal connections to thousands of potential buyers? Through social selling.
You can utilize the lead-generating power of social selling by asking your current clients, coworkers, and friends to help you connect with prospects via LinkedIn. Ask for an introduction from a mutual connection to connect with the prospect. Be sure to show respect for your prospect and use the social media site to establish a relationship, not to bombard him or her with sales material.
Researching the prospect will also ensure you’re contacting someone who would be interested in your service. To find leads who are likely to be interested, research a prospect’s “Likes” on Facebook and see who he or she is following on Twitter. You can even use unlikely social media sites, like Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr, to get a sense of your prospect’s interests. At the very least, this will give you some ideas for what to discuss on the call and can help establish a personal connection. All business and no personal connection makes a salesperson a dull, unwelcome contact.
When speaking with a potential customer, be careful with your choice of topics. Although you might learn details about your prospect’s personal life, it’s best to stick with professional topics or common interests. Even if their social media accounts are public, it can still be jarring to have a stranger mention very specific personal details about their lives. Just don’t go there. When in doubt, play it safe when it comes to their personal lives.
Social selling is a great tool to generate warm leads, but one of the greatest benefits of social media is that before you go searching for prospects, they might find you first. Be sure to post regularly on social media sites and make sure you’re generating interesting content that is likely to engage new fans. Plus, even when you’re doing your own outreach, you’ll have a lot of relevant content already out there that you can reference and share with those prospects.
With social selling, you can now let cold calling rest in peace and connect with prospects authentically to generate more leads.
To learn more social selling tips, download the 7 Secrets to Social Selling now.