The answer is never!
Selling is social but social is not selling. Let me break it down.
Selling is Social
Selling is helping your customers to buy products and services from your business. You need to be able to meet the needs of your customers and provide value for money. To meet the needs of your customer you have to understand your customer. To understand your customer you need to have empathy for their situation, this requires you to walk in their shoes or social circle to know what is important to your customer.
Why is Social not Selling?
Social in indirect while selling is direct. Selling is a push strategy of convincing or showing the customer all of the features and benefits of what they offer. Social is pull, questioning and listening, a pull strategy allows the customer to buy what is a closely matched solution to their specific need.
Social is the first step in building connection and rapport while selling is the last step and can destroy rapport and breaks the trust.
To build trust, you must ask questions and use active listening skills to gain rapport. The customers feel there is common ground when trust is developed. In active listening, you are looking for the areas of commonality and connection. The more questions to gain an understanding of the needs of the customer, the more the customer relaxes, believes and trusts you, then the more your customer believes that your product or service is the right one for them.
It is when you ask questions to accurately determine that your customer has a genuine need for your product or service that the sale can proceed. At this point, the customer is willing to buy (pull) what is their solution to their need.
Why is Social Selling Not Selling?
Social selling can take place either online (social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) or offline. It is the essential process of developing relationships towards the process of a sale, a solution or brand loyalty.
However, rather than being used to generate sales directly, social networks indirectly help businesses to build the relationship and engage with customers, these networks can help to find and test new markets and can inspire brand loyalty and repeat custom. Consumers are less likely to respond well to blatant (push) sales attempts. Businesses must instead focus on creating open communication between your business and your customer with online and offline questioning and listening.
Your sales job is not to sell but to allow the customer to buy; social selling is a tool to help you develop trust and engage, so the customer wants the solution you have for his or her problem or need.
Want to find out what you can do to develop your social selling campaign, have a coffee with me, Janice B Gordon.
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