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Jeff Molander
October 7, 2014

How is social selling different than social marketing?

social sellingSocial selling is not a revolution in how sellers sell—nor how buyers buy. So what is social selling and how is it different than social media marketing? Effective social selling is less about technology—more about applying direct response marketing principles with new tools.

Social selling is a practical, repeatable process—a way to increase sellers’ productivity and make their output more predictable using social media platforms.

Don’t be fooled: Buyers are not re-inventing the buying process. However, they are speeding-up the buying process. Sales are changing, but this is not a revolution. In reality, generating leads and sales using networks such as LinkedIn, Google+, a company blog, YouTube, etc. is becoming more of a common practice in business today. Sales teams aren’t reinventing the wheel, instead they are returning to selling basics.

So, what is social selling, and how can you get started?

An evolution, not a revolution

Revolutions bring about change that make things easier or better. Has social media made your life easier lately? Are you getting more leads and closing them faster? I rest my case!

Social selling is an improvement on your existing selling process. It’s your chance to evolve, not re-invent. Social selling takes what already works, brings it online and improves it using direct response marketing principles.

How social selling differs from social marketing

Engagement is not the primary goal of social selling, it’s merely the beginning of a process. Engagement with potential buyers gives sellers the opportunity to open the doors of communication with prospects (i.e.: to start an informative conversation about an eventual transaction). Since we now know that engagement isn’t the primary goal, what should sellers be focusing on instead? Responses! 

Likewise, most social marketing experts insist: being trusted is a winning strategy. But it’s not. Being trusted is the output of successful strategy! Increased trust is a sign your sellers are applying a social selling process effectively.

Keep your approach simple

Your social selling strategy must be practical. If it’s not you’re sunk, and nobody (including you) will adopt it. Here are the main components of an effective social selling system:

1) Attention. Capture your prospects’ attention with informative marketing materials, helpful services, or anything else which will help them learn more about the products/services you are trying to sell them.

2) Engagement: This should be simple and easy for the potential prospect to understand. It should evoke a need for them to want to learn more about your business.

3) Response: Once you’ve captures your prospects’ attention, and they have accepted your invitation to engage further (i.e.: learn more about your services), you should have a response ready for further marketing your solution to them.

Now, let’s roll up our sleeves. What is social selling and how are sales reps, small business owners and distributors generating more leads, faster? Beyond the above description, what is the process your sales team should be applying?

Effective social selling is a system

Systems are not sexy, however, they work. A system is a repeatable process with a predictable outcome. Input goes in, certain things happen and out comes a result. What’s being generated by your social media efforts lately? If it feels like a time-suck, don’t worry. You’re not alone, you are part of the 95% of social sellers that aren’t using a system.

Effective social selling is mostly about:

  • Getting buyers to respond and qualify faster, more often, and
  • Turning response into dialogue that leads to a sale—faster, more easily

What’s new about social selling

If anything is new about the above process it’s the role direct response marketing techniques play; for example, social media copywriting is catching on. Today’s best social sellers use a process. They are able to structure words in such a way that they can generate a greater response rate from their potential buyers.

Here is the systematic copywriting approach top social sellers are using to help their potential new customers:

  1. Believe there is a better way (via short-form social content)
  2. Realize they just found part of it (using longer-form content)
  3. Act, taking a first step toward what they want (giving the seller a lead)

Remember, social selling is not a revolution, nor was social media marketing. In fact, social media marketing was, for most businesses, used as an in-effective megaphone. Effective social selling is defined by your ability to mix direct response marketing principles and traditional sales practices with new tools.

Social selling is a practical, repeatable process—a way to increase sellers’ productivity and make their output more predictable using social media platforms.