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The Sales Review

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2 Social Selling Strategies - “Sphere of Influence” & “Priority Shifting”

Posted by Jamie Shanks on Jan 24, 2013 8:39:31 AM

I love using the fork in the Yellow Brick Road as an analogy for opportunity cost or major decisions. We’ve all seen The Wizard of Oz, and can relate to Dorothy’s dilemma.

When new Social Sellers begin asking “what should I write this prospect on LinkedIn”, I point them to the only two strategies that will work in LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc.

Strategy #1 “Sphere of Influence”

I want you to think of your last client. Think of the amazing success story that you’d want to tell future clients. That story is what you’ll use within THAT CLIENTS’ “Sphere of Influence”. Here is how you will map out your plan.

Go to your client Company Page on LinkedIn.

1. Click Insights on the top tabs and scroll down to People Also Viewed. These 6 companies are typically competitors, companies that migrated employees to/from your client, or like minded businesses. If you tell your success story of Company ABC to these 6 companies, they are most likely to listen.

2. On the top of the Company Page, click Followers . These hundreds or thousands of LinkedIn users are most likely one of 3 types of people:

  • Competitors
  • Industry Emulators
  • Clients/Vendors/Partners

All of which are very interested in stories surrounding your client – that’s why they following them. Tell these “Following” relevant buyers you’re your client’s success story as they will mostly likely be able to relate to the challenges you`ve helped solve.

3. On the top right of the Company Page, it will outline the total number of employees at your clients company on LinkedIn “How you’re Connected”. Dive into this list and find the decision-makers that you worked with. Assuming you are 1st degree connections, review their 1st degree connections. If you leverage your success story with those decision-makers connections, these new people are most likely to listen.

Strategy #2 “Priority Shifting”

After you have exhausted these client success stories, you still want to find new markets. Unfortunately a prospect in these new markets will know little about your client, nor care about their story. They will feel this doesn’t relate to them. This is where “Priority Shifting” becomes important.

In a nutshell, you are trying to move a prospect off their Status Quo and think differently about challenges in their business. Craig Elias has a great book Shift Selling that talks about Path Dependency – essentially your worst competitor is Status Quo. Luckily, buyers present Trigger Events for you to pick-up and take action.

The strategy behind Priority Shifting is twofold: i. Listen for Trigger Events that give you a way in the door ii. Develop that new mindset in a prospects head.

Example of a Trigger Event: a prospect that you’re interested in decides to change decision-makers. Now that a new decision-maker is in a position to buy, that person no longer has incumbent relationships nor any preconceived notions. They are more open to something new that can bring results and make an impact in their new role. Bingo! You’re way in.

Example of developing the Priority Shift: each week you send your prospect a thought-provoking article via LinkedIn message. The article doesn’t talk about you, or your product. It talks about the “5 problems that C-Level executives are having in the industry”. The more that this decision-maker reads about these problems, the more impactful your Inception becomes. The goal of Priority Shifting is to keep sending thought-provoking material (video, articles, etc.) until you notice they talk a next step (come to your webinar, download your guide, check out your LinkedIn page multiple times). By sharing a different perspective on the challenges and problems faced by your prospects you are demonstrating that you can bring value when their priorities shift. When you see that priority shift, ask for the appointment!!!

The Bottom Line

If you don’t want to be left behind the 8 ball – you need to start to take action. The following dozen blog posts on utilizing Social Selling strategies using LinkedIn can help you start. If you are really looking for some hidden gems on how you can attract a very specific prospect, I recommend you check out – 42 LinkedIn Tips

Find the topic of Social Selling interesting?
Click Here to book a time in my calendar to explore further!

Jamie Shanks

About the Author

Jamie Shanks is a world leading Social Selling expert, responsible for pioneering the space. Jamie Shanks has trained 1,000’s of sales professionals from Fortune 500 companies to solopreneurs.