Elinor Stutz, social selling expert and sales thought leader, chats about the ins-and-outs of social selling from a sales perspective in this interview. Discover how entrepreneurs, small businesses, consultants and lean sales teams can make the most of social selling.
What sparked your interest in social selling?
The moment social media was announced, I knew it held promise from a sales perspective. Early in my career, I spent most of each day knocking on doors in my territory. The idea that people might find me online was almost a miracle come true! A second component is that I have always enjoyed travel, and the thought of meeting people from around the world held much promise. With that, I eagerly joined a social selling group to learn better strategies for communicating online when social media was in its infancy.
How would you define social selling? What’s it for? Who’s it for?
Social selling is about being professionally personal and authentic so that people get to know the real you by reading your thoughts. For salespeople, it is efficient for attracting the desired audience with far less effort than traditional means. Social media has leveled the field, so anyone with a strong desire to learn and grow can succeed. Social selling provides the opportunity for you to become familiar with people from all corners of the world and broadens the base for potential clientele. In particular, social selling is ideal for entrepreneurs with limited budgets to help them reach new and larger markets.
Many people do not understand the difference between social media marketing and social selling. How do you distinguish the two? How do they work together?
Marketing precedes sales, and it’s no different online. As messaging is seen, and people come to know, like and trust you, inquiries are then made about services, collaborative effort and other opportunities. The starting point for a sales conversation are the consistent insights that you share on social media, the insights your intended clientele are looking for.
Which social channels do you think are the best for social selling and why?
My favorite platform is Twitter because it is efficient and effective. It’s easy to get your messaging across to attract interest from your desired audience. LinkedIn is known as the professional network. Whether you are seeking a new job or want to broaden your reach, this is where established companies and individuals are found. Given Google is the search engine giant, it’s wise to be active on the Google+ portion of the site. Last but not least, Facebook is by far the most popular social site, and so everyone would do well to also use this platform.
What should social sellers post on social channels?
Instead of simply re-posting information, read the articles and tweets people have to share. There is much to be learned, particularly if you are willing to learn from men and women plus a wide variety of cultures.
Are there any common misconceptions people have about social selling?
From the start, I was told social selling is a complete waste of time and would ruin my business. The opposite proved to be true. I became known as a Top 1% Influencer in establishing a recognized brand. As long as one remains focused on the purpose of being social online, eg. to build business, it is never a waste but is an outstanding sales strategy.
Name your favorite tools for doing social selling and why you use them.
The Twitter app is by far my favorite tool. Whenever there is a need to wait in a line or for a meeting to begin, I pull out the phone to quickly catch up on Twitter. In this way, my time is managed well. Over time, my following has substantially grown and continues to bring incredible opportunities that would not otherwise be seen.
Is social selling just for salespeople, or do you see marketers also doing social selling?
Marketers do well by utilizing social selling; in my estimation, marketing empowers sales. The nuances of understanding the audience well leads to far better messaging and targeting of the core clientele. As the two disciplines work together, teams experience a more robust effort and result.
How does social selling fit into the sales process?
I see social selling as fitting into the middle of the business development cycle. One should establish a strong personal brand identity and transfer that to a business brand. Next is to develop communication strategy designed to attract interest on social sites. Links to products and services may be included a small percentage of the time. This systematic activity encourages private messages from followers, which frequently evolves into live conversations. The end of the cycle may conclude with collaborative efforts and/or sales.
How can sales managers or sales leaders get their teams started with social selling? What are the first few steps they should take?
The first few steps are to:
- Encourage a collaborative effort to be more effective.
- Provide the best insights for the intended clientele to succeed in order to attract keen attention.
- Give helpful advice with links to services 25% of the time.
As audiences recognize the valuable information shared, you step into the leadership position.
What are your top three social selling tips?
- Know what your audience needs, wants and desires and then deliver within the messaging parameters.
- Respond to all messages with a personal one of your own. Should an unwelcome message come your way; take the high road.
- Freely share good advice from others and use this to establish reciprocal arrangements.
Where can we learn more about you?
My website provides much information about me and the work I provide. You will also find the Smooth Sale blog on the site to which you may subscribe. I provide inspirational keynotes, sales training and have best-selling books on the market - the details for which may also be found on the website.
About Elinor Stutz:
Elinor Stutz broke through barriers long before doing so was popular. Defying the odds, and the theme, “Women can’t sell” Stutz became the top producer at every company she worked all the while ignoring attempts to get her to quit.
Her life-changing moment was to negotiate with the Great Beyond ~ she would empower communities if she were able to move past her broken neck. The entire medical staff came to her recovery room to meet and proclaim her as “a walking miracle.”
Stutz’ motto became, “Believe, Become, Empower.”
Smooth Sale was created to teach how to earn a returning and referring clientele
- Her first book, Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building that Gets Results is an International Best-Seller
- Kred announced Stutz as A Top 1% Influencer
- Founding Member Sales Enablement Society
- Chief Officer Business Development, PWIConnections.com