B2B Social Selling Tips
B2B Social Selling Tips:
How to Differentiate From the Competition and Win More Sales!
When salespeople discuss how to “differentiate themselves from the competition,” the discussions are about one’s USPs (Unique Selling Propositions)
No doubt, that’s a key area salespeople need to be strong in, however; if you really want to separate yourself from the competition to where prospects are willing to take your call, or even better yet, are calling you and asking for help, you’re going to need more than knowing your USP.
B2B Social Selling:
Industry Expert Vs. Product Knowledge Expert
Sure, knowing your product or service inside and out is helpful, but you can do all the recommending and sharing of information you want; the prospect will always know that you have a vested interest in selling what you offer to them.
Often this will lead to the prospect needing to “shop around” and gather additional information/quotes and then will ponder on their own what decision they should make, leaving your deal to what seems to be nothing more than a coin flip with your commission checks hanging in the balance.
What I’ve found to be more useful than “product (or service) knowledge” is allowing prospects to come to the determination on their own that whatever it is I’m selling, I’m the industry expert. I understand their pains, issues, and challenges, and I walk and talk like they do, and we speak the same language because I know what it’s like to be in their shoes.
Let’s say you sell accounting software for fixed assets. Sure, understanding the product, what it can do, its limitations, and what operating systems/requirements are essential.
But what’s more important is to understand your prospects’ challenges and why they need a better solution.
And I don’t mean by doing this on the call with them (yes, you will uncover their needs and challenges during a call, but that’s not what I’m talking about here… stay with me)
I’m talking about getting into your target audience’s world and seeing things through their eyes. Not on a call, way before that.
Case In Point…
Before SalesBuzz.com, I owned an SEO company (I helped companies get top rankings for their keywords in the non-paid section of Google)
The idea to start an SEO company came after I was trying to help my wife’s business get off the ground. We began using paid ad placement to generate new leads… the problem was that competing against Fortune 500 companies with substantial marketing budgets for paid ads exceeded the profits of the products/services she was selling.
Here’s the kicker… I barely knew how to turn on a computer at the time, let alone know how to “code” a website for top rankings… but the pain of having our budget eaten up while competitors got all the “free” hot leads drove me to learn how to do the technical stuff.
After learning how to SEO and getting top results for my wife’s company (and crushing her competition), I started my own SEO company.
I was able to relate to my prospect’s pain points (expensive ads with low returns on paid placement) and was able to earn their trust. Not just that I knew what I was doing SEO-wise (that was undoubtedly a big part of it), but with all the competition I had, being able to communicate with potential new clients in a way where they knew I knew what they were going through and that I had a solution to share ultimately is what lead the business to be wildly successful (I eventually sold the business and now share practical sales tips on how to sell by phone, but I digress)
The point is to be more than a product/service knowledge sales rep if you want to separate yourself from the competition.
Become a leading expert in your field. Then use social media to help spread the word and watch what happens next.
Use Social Selling to Share, Not Sell
Being an SME (Subject Matter Expert) is not something you can fake. If you are new to the industry, take the time to understand what your targeted prospect goes through regularly when dealing with whatever it is you sell. And once you do gain that kind of insight, use social media (LinkedIn, Blogging, Emails, Webinars) to share that information freely, without expecting anything in return.
When you genuinely know how to help your targeted audience solve some of their toughest challenges and offer tips and advice freely (give more than you take) and do this regularly, your reputation as an industry expert will grow. And more prospects will not only start to take your cold calls; they will be picking up the phone to call you.
Just make sure you also have the sales skills to know what to say, when, how to say it, why, and how to respond to their answers. Otherwise, it’s all for nothing.
– Michael Pedone
Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.