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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=Social Selling'>Social Selling</a>
Marketing & Tech
May 9, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

Three-quarters of B2B buyers use social media as a part of their purchasing process. That’s a big chunk of the market and a great opportunity for social sellers. But what of the remaining 25% of buyers who aren’t using, or are much less receptive to, social channels?

Let’s begin with a point of clarification. In 2017, even the ‘anti-social’ buyers are usually online in some fashion, and most of them still review content before going ahead with a purchasing decision. In fact, about 8 in 10 of them consider a minimum of three forms of content before speaking or conversing with a sales professional.

So fear not, you don't have to abandon the social selling and online branding principles you've developed, but you will need to think beyond  the traditional social networking toolkit. Those buyers which are less active on social will, in many cases, still expect your brand to be current and pushing helpful content to them.

But we're talking about a quirky 25% who, for whatever reason may not be active on LinkedIn or Twitter right? Sure, but that’s not the same as assuming that they don’t also consume much of their news and information online and use the web to stay up-to-date with their industry's trends.

So what about the most digitally-resistant buyers, those who mostly or exclusively consume market news and info through more traditional channels such as radio, TV and print? Well, even they have peers on social media (the other 75%) who are also involved in the purchasing process and can influence the final decision.

Here are our suggestions for using some more off-the-wall social selling techniques to directly or, in the case of the total technophobes, indirectly appeal to prospects who aren’t using social networks.

Spread the Word

Regardless of whether your prospect is open to social selling, online search, print or word-of-mouth, positioning yourself as a thought leader is important. Prospects are more likely to buy from brands they know, like and trust. Providing information (especially stuff they didn’t know they didn’t know) positions your brand as a trusted source.

Not only can a prospect find your posts through news sites, trade magazines, directories or via a browser search, creating compelling content will help you to impress and engage your those prospects' that ARE active on social media and can recommend your products and services to their anti-social decision-making colleagues for you.

Do Your Homework and Be Prepared for that Chance to Engage with those Elusive 'Anti-Socials'

Even if your prospect isn't on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Snapchat or LinkedIn, they still have to operate in a competitive environment. An environment where 63% of buyers appreciate being contacted with relevant information and opportunities at the right time, IDC reports. That means social selling strategies can still work to the benefit of your pipeline when used in the capacity of research and timely contact with your anti-social prospects.

That means it's important to not only follow industry trends but also to closely watch updates posted to social networks by lead in your sales funnel. Make sure to follow their page on LinkedIn and look for triggers such as events, job openings or changes to regulations relating to their sector. Those events often signal that buyers may be looking for a open to new initiatives and services.

LinkedIn's advanced search is helpful because you can save searches and get email updates on new results. The Sales Navigator goes one further in presenting the latest developments at prospect companies. Twitter, while often overlooked, is hugely powerful when used in the right ways. One can, for example, identify and segment into Twitter lists those accounts and brands which interest and engage with topics, events and trends through use of hashtags. Facebook too, can be useful in following news related to your leads – if not for the accuracy of its demographics, its share reach lends itself to use for big data, trends and specific drip-down leads.

Personalize and be Authentic

One of the big causes for resistance to social media (and email marketing) approaches to social selling is the one-size-fits-all approach. With so much generic spam and impersonal clutter on social networks and in inboxes, there’s little wonder that some professionals choose to switch off.

Keep it real people! Make sure that you use social selling methods to help you research as much as you can about your prospects, then tailor your pitch to suit their needs. Follow the trends in your prospect's industry, locate past business partners, and set up alerts for timely, relevant content that you can share with your prospect.

When you do finally make contact with your lead – whether its on or off-line, you’ll be well placed to engage them in a meaningful and intelligent way. Using online and social tools to help you present an authentic and personal pitch can set you apart from the rest in the eyes of those skeptical of sales approaches.

Identify Contacts and Get Intros

Imagine this scenario. Your company has just launched an awesome new product which you just now is most cost effective and powerful than your competitors. You have a wish list of names decisions makers to contact but they are anti-social in their approach.

Time to think outside the proverbial social selling box. Try tactics like checking on LinkedIn which connections know your social media-marketing-resistant leads and ask for an email intro.

What about all those business cards you’ve collected recently at those trade shows? Perhaps you can get intros through some of the contacts whom you have called or emailed but didn’t connect with through social networking.

And then there are the more traditional approaches of calling or sending printed materials to try to engage with those anti-social leads. Who knows, maybe they’ll be open to being approached through more traditional selling channels.

Remember, even in a business world dominated by the 75% (and rising) of us using social media as part of the purchasing process, there are still some folks out there who prefer to have phone and in-person conversations.

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Copyright ©2017 by The Canadian Professional Sales Association. 

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