The Five Steps of Social Selling That Everyone Should Master
Very few professionals have achieved a 99/100 LinkedIn Social Selling Index score. Mario Martinez Jr. is one of those individuals. Mario has been identified as one of the top 10 sales experts worldwide by Rise Global. He is the CEO & Chief Social Selling Champion at Vengreso, where he and his team helps sales professionals leverage their social networks to connect with (and sell to) today’s modern buyer through social selling. Thankfully, he allowed us to “pick his brain” on all things social selling, and we just can’t wait to spill all of his secrets.
So without further ado, here’s Mario Martinez Jr. on the Five Steps of Social Selling:
EveryoneSocial: What information should your social profiles display for today’s sales rep?
Mario Martinez: Your buyers are looking to solve a specific business problem(s). Therefore, the ideal social network profile should address 1) who you help, 2) what problem you solve, 3) how you solve it, and 4) which customers can prove it. Also, ideally your bio should be keyword optimized for search engine indexing. As important, it should contain multi-media which maps to your buyers journey like customer testimonial video.
ES: There are a lot of social media platforms out there, which social media channels should I be on?
MM: First figure out where your buyers are at and be there! Generally, speaking though for B2B sales, you need to be on LinkedIn, Twitter, & leverage YouTube. In my opinion, B2B social sellers would usually not leverage Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook for sales prospecting.To reach buyers, #B2B sellers need to be on #LinkedIn, #Twitter & #YouTube! #SocialSelling #Sales Click To Tweet
However, once you have built a relationship with your buyers I do encourage you to use these other social platforms to “grow” and “develop” the relationship. Often, I find those channels are often too personal to leverage for prospecting but certainly I encourage you to connect with them there if they are there and allow you to connect with them.
Remember, I said, be where your customers are at. Regardless, you must be involved and leveraging video. Video is a must for today’s modern sales rep to connect with today’s modern buyer!
ES: Should I use platform-specific branding for each social profile?
MM: Yes. LinkedIn is both a great way to get the next great job, and sell to your potential clients. And you absolutely can use it for both simultaneously. By gearing your profile to sales you’ll attract potential buyers as well as recruiters. Both want to see how you can help them.
But it’s not Facebook! If you want to post a picture of yourself or a family shot, always do it in the spirit of connecting it back to business. For example, I do post pictures of me and the family on LinkedIn. But it’s all in the context of doing an event for my company not because we are out at a local restaurant. Twitter, on the other hand, allows for more personal and playful posting and I encourage you to allow the personal and professional worlds to blend there for sure.
ES: What mediums should I use to reach out to potential buyers?
MM: Any Social Network they are on that isn’t privatized: email, the phone, and some buyers are doing a lot of texting now.
ES: And what content should I share through those mediums?
MM: First, I suggest you develop a minimum of two and a maximum of five social personas. Then map content around those social personas online.
Provided you are a social seller, 50% of your content should be mapped to your buyers. This means you need to understand your buyer’s needs and what industry problems they are trying to solve. Then, share content that addresses how you help solve their business problems, or helpful content like industry trends.
The other 50% should be content related to how you want to be known online. For example, I share content clearly related to social selling, but also sales, motivational, leadership and I have what’s called my wild card. That means, whatever is on my mind.
ES: When do I “break the ice” and start a one-on-one conversation?
MM: On social networks your objective is to turn every online conversation into an off-line conversation. For that to happen, you need to create engagement, solicit a response to your messaging or get your buyers to interact with you in some way. That might mean replying to a comment on a post, an inMail (which I recommend as a last resort), replying to a tweet or last but not least—them looking at your LinkedIn profile.
One example is a sales executive I worked with who had a potential client who was interested in astronomy. The sales executive started engaging by sending this client astronomy-related resources whenever she saw them. After a few articles, he responded back thanking her for her resources and asking for a meeting.
By taking a personal approach, and engaging her client based on his interests, she was able to start a one-on-one relationship with him that eventually led to a meeting then a sale. Let me also go on the record and say—social selling does not mean you do not pick up the phone. The phone still works but has the best results when you leverage social.
ES: How do I start a relationship with a potential client?
MM: Once you have them engaged, you need to try to connect with them. This doesn’t mean “go in for the sale” it only means they likely may be ready to enter into your network. The goal after establishing a connection is to humanize the connection experience, just as you would if you were walking into the person’s office.
In the old days, a sales executive would walk into an office meeting and we were trained to immediately look for something that could help build a rapport. Like a picture of them holding a big fish, or with their kids. We were looking for clues that open up at least the first ten minutes of a conversation together. A personal interlude to get the conversation going and the beginning of building a relationship.
What happens today is the sales executive hosts a virtual meeting and either the prospect or the sales rep gets right into the agenda. The relationship is never built and thus there is no incentive for the potential client to buy. We need to apply those old school sales tactics to today’s socially interactive world. We need to build the relationship earlier.
Try this tip:
- Host your meetings on Fridays and always start the conversation out with “Any big plans for the weekend?”
- Host your meetings on Mondays and always start the conversation with “Did you do anything special over the weekend?”
- Those are great ice breakers which get the conversation flowing on a personal level!
You can find more great sales and social selling techniques, tips and tricks through the Vengreso newsletter.
ES: Ok, but how do humanize the connection experience using social media?
MS: First remember, the phone is not broken and your legs can still help you walk to a meeting. Nothing displaces the use of phone or a face-to-face meeting. Having said that, when you are establishing an online connection you have to humanize the connection experience. How do you this?
One of the things we teach in our social selling workshops is the writing and use of an article which can help humanize the connection experience. Something that tells a story. That story should be a story of struggle, pain, success, accomplishment all weaved it into a common business application. You have to become vulnerable. Doing it this way, the potential buyers can get to know you personally. And that connection might ultimately lead building trust with you much faster than your competition.
I wrote two articles just like this titled “Dear Mom & Dad” and, “Dad, You Said LinkedIn Helps You Make Money!” I send one of these articles to every new connection I make so they can get to know me personally. I have received thousands of messages saying how inspiring it was to read these stories and thanking me for sharing something so personal. There are always a few that thought I shouldn’t have sent the articles but it was less than 0.5% of the thousands who have received them.#B2B #sales reps need to humanize the connection experience. Tell a #story. Build #trust. #SocialSelling Click To Tweet
ES: And when I finally schedule a meeting with them?
MM: By leveraging articles like the ones I mentioned earlier, you establish an emotional connection instantly and this is what differentiates you from your competition. While your competitors are dialing for dollars, sending impersonal emails or InMails, you are focused on building a relationship from the start. By the time you now ask to schedule a meeting, they have come to know you and are much more open to scheduling a discussion because they have emotionally connected with you.
When you form that kind of emotional connection, you’re one step ahead of your competition. Your customer may be more willing to engage with you than your competitor because they have a connection with you.
ES: What sort of content should I share with my network?
MM: If you have no idea what to share, share what your customers are sharing. Whoever you sell to, if they think it’s interesting, likely people like them will think it’s interesting as well.
As mentioned earlier, I recommend that each sales person have 2-5 social personas. People know that I talk about 1) social selling, 2) sales, 3) leadership, 4) motivation, and 5) my wildcard is whatever is trending for me personally.
Your social persona is your social personality. You don’t, can’t and shouldn’t only share information about your products and your company. You need to talk about other things as well.
ES: How do I decide which five personas I should choose?
MM: Start with the first social persona being information related to who you work for and the second be what your company is sharing. Then share items related to your industry or your clients’ industry, something you have expertise in, and something you’re personally interested in.
ES: What metrics or KPI’s should I look at to measure my success as a social seller?
MM: The metric of record is certainly revenue. But you’ can’t measure that out of the gate. That takes time. So the most important key performance indicator (or KPI) to look at is how many conversations you are having offline, that came from conversations you started online.
That’s it! That will be the most beneficial metric to understand your success as a social seller. Remember turn every online conversation into an offline conversation. Once you do that it’s standard sales operating procedure!
Thank you so much Mario for allowing us to learn more about social selling and the process you employ for sales success. To learn more about Mario you can follow him on LinkedIn, on Twitter, or on his website at vengreso.com. Subscribe to the Vengreso newsletter to receive the latest Sales and Social Selling tips and tricks!
A version of this article originally appeared here first.
About The Author
Elle Griffin is the Head of Marketing at EveryoneSocial and a columnist on women in business & how to become a thought leader in your industry. You can learn more about Elle at Ellegriffin.com.