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Sales Strategy
Five Social Selling Sins to Avoid
Aug 14, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

Social selling is a strategy that every 21st-century salesperson worth their salt should be employing. But anyone who has started down the route of using social networks for sales knows there’s more to social selling than simply promoting your product or service on social media. We’ve written before about social selling sins; here are 5 more social selling sins to avoid at all costs to ensure you are successful.

Only Posting About Your Product

If you’re not a social media native and would not otherwise be regularly posting, it may be tempting to only share product content provided to you by your marketing team. This is a BIG social selling sin. It’s a poor strategy for a number of reasons but mostly because this is like holding up a ginormous sign that says: “I am trying to sell you something!” and successful social selling needs to be subtle. If you want people to follow you or connect with you, you need to be interesting. So yes, share relevant content about your product or service, but this needs to be positioned in between other content that would be of interest to your prospects. You need to be a real person with a personality.  Remember to keep it professional, but humorous and insightful comments about industry specific news and events are a great move.

Overt Selling in Groups

While Facebook and LinkedIn groups are certainly fertile ground for prospecting, you never want to make a direct sales pitch in a group.  A fantastic strategy for utilising Facebook and LinkedIn groups for social selling is to join groups where it is likely that you will find members of your target customer demographics.

If, for example, you are selling industrial cleaning products, joining LinkedIn groups for Facilities Managers in the industries where your products are used is a good idea. But once in the group, avoid making an overt sales pitch. This will be seriously frowned upon or seen as spam. Rather than being able to connect with any prospects, you’ll gain a negative reputation and may even get kicked out of the group. NOT what you were looking for! Instead, share interesting content that is relevant to the group (even if it does not have anything to do with your product); answer questions that members of the community pose; and make insightful comments on other group members’ posts. In this way, you’ll position yourself as an expert with whom your prospects will want to connect with and build a relationship.

Not Staying Aligned With Your Company’s Values

You may be reading this and thinking, “WELL, OF COURSE!” Or perhaps you’re thinking, “Actually, I have a statement in my Twitter bio that says ‘tweets are my own’ so I’m good.”

But here’s why not staying aligned with your company’s values is a social selling sin:

Everything you say on social media is up for public consumption and it all sticks around FOREVER (with some notable exceptions such as Snapchat). With social selling, you are positioning yourself as a brand ambassador and leveraging your selling power on your personal brand, even if you are not talking directly about your product.

If you say something that is out of alignment (no matter how long ago you said it), not only can it diminish your company’s credibility but also your own personal brand, making you appear hypocritical or untrustworthy. Above we’ve talked about the importance of being a real person, but this does not mean oversharing your personal beliefs, especially if they don’t align with your company’s. Always think before you tweet and consider the different ways in which your comment may be construed.

Neglecting Your Social Networks

If you are new to social selling, it can be all too easy to set up a vast array of accounts on all the different platforms in an initial flurry of enthusiasm only to neglect them as the reality of keeping on top of them all strikes.

To be successful in social selling you need to be posting regularly, so be realistic about the time you will have to commit to social media. Schedule this time as part of your weekly calendar and make it a priority.  Don’t waste time creating profiles on social networks where your customers aren’t active. It’s far better to be active on one or two networks that are customer appropriate than have accounts languishing unloved on every network going.

Not Following Up Offline

The power of social selling is in the platform it gives you to network and build relationships. But to close a deal, 9 times out of 10, you need to take it offline. At the point where you have nurtured a connection, ask them for a ten minute phone call in a private message or try and schedule a meeting at an event you will both be attending.

Depending on your industry and product, for the most part, leads will only convert to sales if you can connect in the real world. So yes, nurture communities online but don’t leave warm prospects to go cool on social networks and follow up quickly when you get a positive response to a meeting request.

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