Are You Using the Power of Social Selling to Its Fullest Capacity?
Is social selling your idea of warming up your client before hitting them with the big pitch? Now is the time to move forward with an updated mindset due to the unprecedented market shift created by COVID-19. Don’t panic and take this opportunity to think about your social selling strategy. Social selling is simply a by-product of effective sales and marketing alignment in your organization. Social selling can accelerate every stage of your existing sales process and help you pivot when the market changes like we are seeing today.
If you are unable to sell your goods or services currently take the opportunity to educate your target audience, show you relate to how people are handling the current environment and update sales strategies but don’t disappear. Now is a great opportunity for your brand to stand out during a difficult time. More people are on social media now while stuck at home. Some seek connection, entertainment, new knowledge, and escapism but more eyeballs are glued to computer screens so start shaping your buyer’s opinion of your company early on with digital insights- establish the relationship. This is not the time for the hard sell. Modern buyers have grown wary of sales professionals and hard sales pitches.
Today’s buyer is looking for a partner who provides true insight. To give your buyers what they want, don’t sell to them. Instead, educate them using e-books, blogs, tip sheets, and more. Putting your business in the front of mind of your clients, being a trusted source of information will pay dividends in the end.
If the thought of not making money right now causes you to panic, remember some of the benefits of social selling enables sales professionals to better qualify leads, write bids, and adjust sales approaches based on client feedback- be it in person or a mere “like” online to a post about your product or service. Social selling not only helps you establish new relationships—but it’s also an excellent strategy to deepen your existing customer relationships.
Don’t Fall Victim to the Panic Move- Avoid Anxiety/Fear
Historically, businesses that have chosen a more progressive strategy during a recession have outperformed businesses that made sweeping cuts, according to studies that analyzed recent recessions.
You always want to use metrics and analyze all the data you have available before planning your next move. Take caution when quickly reacting to a sudden shift in the market. Avoiding panic and choosing the right strategy will help you gain more in better times.
A Harvard Business Review (HBR) study of 4,700 public companies looked at the three years before, during, and after recessions. They divided companies’ responses—their “driving” strategies—into four categories:
1. Prevention. A focus on cost-cutting—every decision is viewed through a loss-minimization lens. They do more of the same with less, often lowering quality and customer satisfaction.
2. Promotion. A heedless optimism that ignores the gravity of the situation and early warning signs. Companies in this category add features when customers desire greater value.
3. Pragmatic. A haphazard combination of prevention and promotion characteristics. These companies tend to over-rely on reducing the number of employees.
4. Progressive. These companies get the prevention-promotion balance right by evaluating every aspect of their business model—making near-term changes that reduce costs now and after demand returns (unlike layoffs).
Being progressive in the face of a pandemic will make the difference between merely surviving versus surviving then eventually thriving faster than companies with a fear/panic strategy.
Beyond Content and Posts- Rethink Your Customer Relationship Management
How effectively are you using your CRM (customer relationship management) software? CRM tools organize your contact information and manage your relationship with current and prospective customers, clients, and other contacts. You could make your own CRM by adding more details to your address book but now would be the time to rethink your current systems and rebuild for future success and growth.
There are numerous CRM tools available online pinpointed to certain industries so research what is best for you or take the time to work with a reputable reputation management/social selling firm like Pivotous. The best approach for future success is laying the groundwork instead of playing it safe or worst, conducting business as usual when the market is changing whether you are ready or not.
Be Prepared to Pivot as a Business
If your usual forms of profits for your business has dried up can you pivot to create a different revenue stream? If your service is person to person services can it be administered or taught online? Gyms have closed their doors to prevent the spread of the coronavirus but offer online workout classes. Different delivery methods to ensure safety- noncontact delivery of goods where items are delivered to the buyer’s door verses pick up in store. Think outside of the box! One impressive example has been rolled out by Red Roof hotel chain. Red Roof is offering day rates for remote workers, offering up rooms as makeshift workspaces, something that might appeal to those having a tough time leading conference calls with children and pets in the background.
If you are stumped at coming up with an idea that generates income try a different approach that lays the groundwork for relationship building and creating a brand that people want to be involved with. Some hotels are donating rooms to medical workers so they can protect their families from contracting COVID-19. Not only is that an amazing contribution, but it also builds future goodwill. Who wouldn’t like to give their money to businesses that give back? Can you rethink your service or donate services? Do outreach to the community and post these efforts to social media to share ideas with others on how to contribute. This helps buyers see you as an asset to the community as opposed to being after their money.
Even if you feel completely stuck you can at least be relatable, be empathetic, be sincere and spread hope. If you sell luxury items let people plan, learn more about your products and services. The dream will become a reality once the marketplace gets back to normal. Be the friend, expert, the company they want to be loyal to and buy from but don’t be silent or make your company small in hopes of merely surviving. Be visible, stay front of mind of your clients and pivot like your business depends on it because it does!
Action item #1- Ideas for content, campaigns to engage your current clients and attract new interest (not just new sales)-
Action Item #2 What challenges are you having and how would you advise someone else in a similar situation?
Action item #3 Out of the box- can I create another source of income- reinvent current business practices- rethink modes of service delivery?
Action Item #4- What can you do to start or what can you change in your current strategy today- first step no matter how small?