In part one of this three -parts series, you learned more about what social selling is, and where it comes from. In part two, we will dive into what I believe are the three crucial do’s and don’ts when engaging with potential clients on a personal level. If you commit yourself to becoming a social seller and implement these 3 practical methodologies, facing other challenges such as prospecting and lead generation, will be a lot easier. Let’s take a look at how you can go about doing this in order to reach your desired sales targets.

DO plan and set goals.

“Research and ask questions. Information is readily available for you to succeed.” Did you know that you have a friend called ‘big data’?

As with most things in life, planning is a key building block to successful outcomes. However, before you plan you will need to know what you are planning for. Yes, set goals.

When you consider setting goals for social selling, make sure that the goals are SMART. And by this I mean – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely. Take into consideration factors like:

1)     How many people do you want to contact per day? Taking into account you have already strategized your ideal buyer persona.

2)     How many leads do you want to generate weekly or monthly?

3)     How fast do you want to respond to messages?

There is no need to set out too many goals. Two to four goals is a perfect start. A key driver of any success in planning is simplicity. Let’s take the basics, for example. The 5 W’s and the H:

Who, what, when, where, why and how?

The more you plan the easier it is to execute. Why? Because your goals may change. It is crucial to know how you came to your current position. Planning will arm you to tackle the one or two doom days, that will appear, more efficiently.

Don’t go with the flow.

Thinking that you can free fall into social selling is a huge mistake. The world of social media is large and constantly growing, so planning and setting goals is paramount. You will become overwhelmed with a simple thing such as making a good start. With no proper planning and goal-setting, your efforts and progress will be difficult to track, fueling frustration and unproductivity.

Like the famous proverb says, “fail to plan, plan to fail.”

Things aren’t going to just happen. If you’re not doing something about it now, someone else will.

Do engage.

“Be a value driving consultant”

Social selling occurs on a personal level. So why not engage as if you were at a networking event – friendly and approachable, yet with the respect and professionalism you would want to receive. The ball is in your court, so don’t be afraid to test the boundaries. We are not all the same.

When I engage I like to keep a few things in mind:

1)     Be personable and authentic – I build trust with my prospect this way.

2)     Give valuable insights. Not only about myself and my business, but exploring their interests too. Social media has given me access to their thoughts in real-time.

3)     Listen with the intent to understand first, and respond second. Not the other way around.

Don’t forget where you are.

You are stepping into the personal sphere of your prospect by social selling. As a social seller, it is your responsibility to steer far away from cold selling and broadcasting marketing messages. Being pushy on social media will only lead you to losing your prospect, which could not only tarnish your personal brand but your company’s too. You are not in the Wolf of Wall Street boiler room. You should simply be building healthy rapport.

Do Listen.

“Have an ear on your specific industry pulse. Post, comment accordingly, and actively engage.”

Allow social media to talk to you – and allow yourself to listen. The awesome real-time information you will gain in your industry, customer, competitors and more will aid you on your path to being a rock star social selling machine.

I love to listen. It is not always easy, however with my goals at TOM (top of mind), it seems to have become second nature. When I am listening, I do tend to also:

1)     Be aware of what I am listening to and which platform I am receiving it from

2)     Leverage my sales knowledge of the ideal buyer persona with marketing efforts being put out

3)     Analyse which position the prospect may be in, in terms of the buyer’s journey.

Don’t jump to the close.

…unless you see the golden nugget lying right at your feet.

The fact you are engaging over social media is unique, respect that. Build enough rapport to close the deal over a follow-up call or e-mail, or during the next meeting at your offices. If you go straight in for the close, you will land yourself up in regret. Much like in the previous lessons, don’t forget where you are; you will lose the prospect and tarnish your personal brand. You do know coffee is for closers, right?

Social selling has revolutionized the art of selling. However, the process is much the same. I am constantly testing, analyzing, giving and seeking feedback all for the sole purpose of reaching my goals. The pie is too big for you not to take even nibble. Plan, set out which piece you want, and grab it.

Trust you gained some insights?

*If you did not get a chance to read the first short article, click here. Our third and final article in this three-part series will explore some real-life examples of the impact social selling has on business today.

Contribution and edits from my friends and colleagues Adrian Ciesielski & Emma Divaris