Mainstream small business will more reliably get better results from social media if they view it more as selling than marketing. Why?
Because effective relationship selling is personal, and now marketing is too. As social influences continue to profoundly affect business, just about every business activity is going to require relationship building skills.
Traditional marketing or advertising was something you did – to your communities. Whereas, social marketing in our digital environment is something we do – with our communities. That feels a lot like selling to me.
So, an important question is what aspects of your selling process reliably bring in new business? Then consider how you can make that more personal, and as a result, more relevant to today’s buyer.
Adapt to Today’s Buyer
The common expression, “What got you here won’t get you there” – is mostly untrue.
The truth is: It will. All you have to do is know your strengths and learn to ensure their relevancy for the inevitable changes in the business environment.
When I was launching my residential landscape business in the late 80′s I used a practice to educate my communities. That practice – known today as content marketing - was my primary means for generating leads (with referrals from happy customers being the other source of new business).
My only challenge in adapting what worked well was translating from a print to this digital platform where my future customers are likely to be found.
So, how did your business build relationships with new buyers? Give that some thought, because your growth practices are still valid, especially if you figure out how to adapt them to the new habits of your buyers.
For example, if your business growth is the result of efficient production methods that speak for themselves, then that is a vital selling factor that you should continue to use. Now you can easily amplify that using videos to reach buyers where they are – which today is usually online.
A Valid Process is Your Guidance System
Your sales process is more than a series of steps. It is a guidance system that makes everyone aware of what should be happening, and how to get it back on track if it isn’t.
Whether they acknowledge it or not, most people admire what is reliable. This is why having having a valid process that keeps your you and your sales team focused on the right variables is something that gives your buyers confidence in working with your company.
Learn to use your sales process to differentiate your business. The majority of companies are busy selling their products and services. As a result, it all sounds the same to the buyer, because they are all focused on what they do – products and services.
Whereas, the business that focuses on how they do it better is the one that will earn the attention of today’s buyer. And that is accomplished by first selling your process – then your products.
Isn’t this what Zappos does? They are selling the same shoes as every other merchant, but the process for acquiring those shoes is what made their business the market leader.
It’s all about considering how buyers would buy if they could – and then giving them that process.
The bottom line is a valid process builds trust, and that makes it essential for your social marketing AND relationship selling.
Want to learn more about refining your sales process and using it to differentiate your business? It’s covered in detail in Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business.
When you learn to build a process for your social marketing that is based on basic relationship selling practices, you will never look back – because you will be forever focused on the two things that matter most:
- Your business strengths
- How your customers ideally want to buy
What are your thoughts? Please share them in a comment.
Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – Just Released April 2013 (Wiley)