LinkedIn recently expanded to more than 467 million contacts. They have obviously helped to make “social selling” a household name.
Studies from LinkedIn and Aberdeen validate that sales pros using social selling are have 79% higher quota attainment, 54% higher forecast accuracy, and 55% higher customer renewal rates. Sales and marketing professionals can no longer ignore this tsunami and need to invest in formal social selling training. That’s the first step.
The second step is to enhance your social selling skills and separate yourself from the thousands of other professionals who are also pounding on your buyers' digital doorsteps. How do you accomplish this? Consider using three advanced social selling secrets grounded in neuroscience:
1) Use Neuroscience
Dozens of top firms have seen dramatic results by using neuroscience to improve their sales messaging and approach. Harvard University Business School professor Gerald Zaltman determined that 95% of decision-making is subconscious. The human brain is really three brains rolled into one, and two of those “brains” make most of our decisions. Do you know what those brains are, what type of messaging they respond to, and how to raise someone’s oxytocin or dopamine levels to entice them to love your brand?
2) Use Neuron Targeting
Once you know more about neuroscience, you can improve your prospect targeting. Zaltman's research shows we’ll respond 3X more often to an instinctual trigger than to an emotional or logical one. A better understanding of instinctual R-Complex triggering (the instinctive brain) will help you determine which types of industries, issues, situations, roles, titles, etc. will ensure optimal prospects that respond more often and faster to InMails or Connect requests.
3) Use Neuron Messaging
Once you’ve identified who will respond best, you can adjust your sales messaging to trigger more responses. The average InMail response rate is 15%, however, I'm betting a much smaller percentage are “positive” responses.
By using the right messaging and approach, in my experience, you can increase that 25 to 35% Connect rates. These are not costly InMail responses, they are free Connections. Once connected, you can send several messages for free to nurture prospects. However, what you send is critical. Dozens of logical value props will not work. You must create powerful messages that will trigger R-Complex responses.
Armed with the above knowledge and approach, engaging with and motivating prospects is best done by using the age-old 3-Act Play. By adding neuroscience, we can turn it into the Neuron 3-Act Play.
When used correctly, I've had LinkedIn Connect rates go up by 375%. Lead conversion rates have increased by 212%, and sales cycles can be reduced by 20%. More importantly, my qualified pipeline has increased by 30% within two quarters.
Act I—Increase Dopamine
Here, our goal is to increase dopamine so our prospect will like us. We can do this by being friendly, of course, but our vocal tone and cadence are crucial, as is our choice of words and phrases.
The word “What” drives a 52% greater response and recognition rate, for example (my own data). Offering the promise of a reward, such as a gift, secret, or interesting information will boost dopamine. One way to do this is to invite prospects into an exclusive LinkedIn group or offer enticing content in exchange for connecting.
ACT II—Build Trust
Here, our goal is to get our prospect to trust us. We initially do this by raising cortisol and norepinephrine levels through specific questions, words, phrases, and vocal pacing to increase anxiety and fear. We need to temper this and do it in the right way to avoid becoming a pushy salesperson.
In the second part of this act, we need to offer the promise of a reward—the cessation of the fear—which increases dopamine and oxytocin. Properly increasing oxytocin will also ensure buyers trust you and love you and your brand almost as much as their dog.
ACT III—SPUR ACTION
Here, our goal is to get our prospect to believe us, which will spur action. We can do this by increasing serotonin and GABA, which have a calming effect. Our neocortex will then be more receptive to logical information such as facts, figures, graphs, ROI calculations, etc. Having the prospect reflect upon past successes, while sharing success stories from our customers, is one way to increase serotonin. Using images that contain dark blue or purple colors (that resonate at lower frequencies) and using specific words and phrases that have a calming effect can help raise GABA.
Achieving the above may sound complex, but it’s not once you learn how to do it. There are several resources that can help, including some great articles by leading neuroscientists like Dr. German Garcia-Fresco.
At the end of the day, weaving neural cues into your selling process will give you an extra edge in your social selling efforts, resulting in more trust, more pipeline and eventually more deals.