Sales is a lot like dating in many respects. Both can be exhilarating and fruitful at times and utterly painful at others. On the one hand, if we are willing to continually put ourselves out there, the world can be our oyster.
It’s difficult not to take it personally when a first date goes horribly wrong. Likewise, it’s hard not to get down on ourselves when someone hangs up the phone half way through an opening pitch. But if we learn to keep our heads up and stay positive, another fish is always bound to come swimming along.
1. Show Your Best Side
Some may say appearance doesn’t matter, that it’s all about the personality. But your profile’s appeal plays a significant part in getting the right match. Your collection of smiling photos with your dog, accompanied with your witty one-liner and dating profile summary can really set you apart from the rest of fish.
Just like Tinder, your Social Selling profiles such as LinkedIn and Twitter, should highlight what you have to offer and address your prospect’s needs. Sure, their challenge may not be finding a date but you should always have a photo reflective of your personality, a compelling headline and a value-centric summary. With your profile, the person on the other end should quickly understand what you’re all about.
2. Put Yourself Out There
Fact: Not everyone's going to like you. My old sales manager used to say to me “10% of people will always like you and 10% of people will always hate you. Your job is influencing the 80% in the middle.” The first step, or swipe is to put yourself out there into the market.
Don’t be afraid of rejection. In fact, train yourself to be motivated by “no's." Every time you hear a “no” it just means that the next person you speak with is statistically more probable to like you. How’s that for a glass half full way of looking at things? :)
3. Be Yourself
Look to connect on a human level. You don’t need to start a conversation about business related topics. Look for mutual areas of interest and focus on building rapport first. Everything will become easier once you have broken the ice and got the conversation following.
4. Going Straight For The Sale
Guess how many sales are made on first contact: 2 percent. That's a 98 percent fail rate. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Eight out of 10 sales close after the fifth contact. Dating is about relationship building which takes time, patience and dedication. Your initial interaction online shouldn’t go straight to the close. Your match needs a bit of romance to kick things off. Start a conversation around your shared interests, build rapport and make a few jokes while you’re at it.
If you’re prospecting on LinkedIn, you need to show your potential buyers some love before the close. Some sales professionals are just too unprepared and pushy with their sales pitch. You have to invest in the time by asking questions, listening to their concerns and expressing a commitment before ever pitching them your services.
5. Variety Is the Spice
There are a lot of ways you can go with this. The most important one is that you have a better chance of closing the deal if you go multi-channel. Connect with the prospect on more than one social network, on mobile or face to face. When nothing else is working, try to change the channel. Prove you are a real person, not a robot.
6. It's a Thin Line Between Follow and Stalk
The proliferation of easily obtainable data makes it harder than ever to navigate the borderlands between stranger and friend without coming off as creepy, yet millions do it every day. The secret is paying attention to what's going on around the prospect. Don't mention private info or say anything out of line with what is posted on the prospect's profile. Be respectful and just strike up the kind of conversation that you would have on the floor of a trade show.
7. Beguile the Time
Everything looks better in a frame. Early in the conversation with someone you don't know, say something like, “I have a meeting in a few minutes, but …” It puts the prospect at ease knowing that they won't be stuck with you in case you're boring. In a face-to-face meeting, you could even arrange to receive a text after five minutes. This leaves a socially acceptable out for either of you in case it's not working out at the moment.
8. Take It Offline
You’ve done it. You’ve created a great profile, got a match and really took the time and effort to fortify a relationship. Laughs were had, the conversations were great and sparks flew online. So now what? It’s time to take it offline and meet the potential love of your life.
In Social Selling, you may not necessarily have to transition to a face-to-face meeting however getting both parties to agree to a meeting is important to closing the deal. Your prospects will want to do business with someone who understands their challenges, perceived to provide value and most importantly, someone they like. So take the conversation off of social and further the relationship through a meeting.
Love (+ Sales) Is a Battlefield
Don't you love it when a plan comes together? Like building any relationship, Social Selling takes work so don't set it and forget it. Stay up to speed with recurrent Social Selling training. Technology is always changing and people are constantly adapting to it. You need to get ahead of the curve or you'll be left standing when all the customers take their seats. Don't forget to keep swiping to the right, but be careful out there — don't get your heart broken.