Social Selling. It’s just the latest buzz phrase, right? Just cold calling, by another channel and another trendy new name…

Or is it?

Today, when over 70% of your buyer’s journey could be over before they even contemplate talking to your sales team, social selling, with its emphasis on engagement and conversation, can get your sales people back into the sales cycle, sooner.

Our next Disrupt Forum on 19 May will see social selling experts delving into the why, the how, the benefits and the case studies (see below for how to join us). But in the meantime, here are some top tips to get you started.

1. Know the power of your profile
We’re talking LinkedIn. It’s the first place your prospect will look to find out more about you, so the importance of a good, credible LinkedIn profile can’t be over stressed. But remember, it’s NOT a CV. Whilst it’s a place to sell yourself and your achievements, it’s also a platform to let people know who you are, what you can do, and how you can help, framed in the context of what you’re trying to achieve. So keep it relevant, keep it interesting, keep it useful.

2. Set your objectives
What do you want to achieve from this exercise? Are your goals realistic? When you’re getting started, it’s important to set yourself achievable targets. Don’t aim for 100 connections in your first week for example. It’s not realistic, and you run the risk of sacrificing quality for quantity. Identify your top prospects and work harder on them. You’re looking to build relationships, not smash the LinkedIn record for fastest user to 500+

3. Do your research
Build time into your plans to identify and learn about your prospects. Who are they? How active are they online? Where and when are they most active online? What do they talk about? Who do they interact with? Get to know them before you attempt to join their conversations. Would you ask a high class fashion designer about packaging design? Ask a football player how to ice skate? No. And the same common sense rules apply online.

4. Keep it real
Seriously. Be yourself. Be personal. You’re joining a conversation, not selling fruit and veg down the market. If it helps, think of social media like your local pub. You wouldn’t walk up to the bar and start shouting your sales message in someone’s ear, you’d find some common ground (football, beer, music, Game of Thrones) and you’d let the conversation grow. It’s just the same online.

5. Get tooled-up
You wouldn’t paint a wall without a paintbrush or roller. Or call someone without a phone. Get the right tools in place – and integrate your existing ones. Find communities with LinkedIn Groups; discover and publish relevant content with the likes of feedly or Scoop.it; identify and analyse trends with Crowdvu. Make sure you upgrade your accounts for get optimum benefit – and above all: USE YOUR ACCOUNTS!

Want to know more? Join us over drinks and dinner at our free Disrupt Forum, the Secrets of Social Selling, at London’s Soho Hotel on 19 May. B2B Marketing Editor in Chief, Joel Harrison will be joined by social selling experts Tim Hughes, Business Development Director at Oracle, Vernon Bubb, UK Leadership Team & Head of LinkedIn Enterprise Sales Solutions and Shane Redding, Director of Think Direct and qualifications tutor at the IDM. Tim and Shane will draw from personal experience and real-world case studies to give you the advice and the confidence to plan and start to implement your own social selling programmes, with the support from LinkedIn commented on by Vernon.

Attendees to the event will also have the opportunity to win a copy of Tim’s book “Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers” due to be published in July.

Reserve your free place here

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