Social Selling Tips: Converting Trust into Profits

This is Episode 34 of This Old New Business weekly business podcast with Jeff Korhan.

Social Selling Tips: Converting Trust into Profits

Today I’d like to share my top 5 proven social selling tips, which happen to be deceptively simple, and that is why they work so well.

From time to time I will refer back to the foundation of social selling discussed in Episode 33. You may wish to give it a listen if you have not already, but you will still be able to follow along if you choose not to.

I promise these tips will prove invaluable for achieving mutually beneficial outcomes for you and your buyer, regardless of whether you are selling online or face-to-face.

Successfully Selling is Removing Buying Obstacles

Successful selling is a process of removing buying obstacles so that the buyer and seller both get what they want.

Whether you are selling online with social media or face­to­face, the following tips will prove invaluable for achieving that outcome. I’ve also included the memorable quotes I use when teaching these concepts.

#1. Value Before Pricing

Unless what you sell is a commodity, buyers that insist on knowing your price upfront may not be your buyers. As the seller, you want to set pricing aside until you have had the opportunity to build value.

This starts with first learning more about your buyer and his or her needs. Quoting a price suggests a transaction versus a relationship mindset.

This past week I signed a new client who said he doesn’t necessarily want more, but better customers. This tells me he wants educated customers that are interested in business relationships, not just one­time transactions. That’s what his online media will accomplish.

“Diagnosis before discovery is selling malpractice.”

#2. Keep Everything Moving

It’s up to you as the seller to guide the buyer through a collaborative sales process that takes them where they want to go. The excitement should build as that desired destination nears, which is why delays should be avoided.

One of our rules when operating my landscape business was to never conclude a meeting without scheduling the next. You have to keep the vision alive until the goal is achieved.

“Action and engagement predispose future actions.”

#3. Offer Your Expert Opinion

Many sales professionals are afraid to help the buyer choose for fear of making a wrong decision. Yet, suggestions that are backed by experience are often welcome.

A confused mind says no, so when the time is right the selling company should be prepared to make recommendations based upon its expertise, experience, and accumulated understanding of the buyer and his or her situation.

“Choices are obstacles to be managed.”

#4. Transform Trust Into Profitable Outcomes

We typically think of souvenirs as low­value, throwaway items. In reality, the value of souvenirs are secondary to their role as a value exchange in support of shared relationships.

Sports fans buy memorabilia to feel a stronger connection with a player or team. The same is true for customers that trust your business and want to support its efforts to deliver consistently favorable customer experiences.

They are your fans. Use your media to honor their support of your business.

“Fans buy souvenirs.”

5. Give Reasons to Convert

In the landscaping industry we are often asked when is the best time to plant a tree.
There is a Chinese proverb that says: The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

When is the best time (and why) for your buyer to improve their respective situation?
“The best time to take action is today.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on social selling? Meet me over on Twitter to take the conversation further.

Key Take-Aways

Learn more about understandings the worldview of your ideal customers.

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About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

Converting Trust Into Profitable Outcomes

One of the most challenging steps in the sales and marketing process is the final conversion into a desirable outcome for the buyer and the seller.

One reason for this is the terminology. The word conversion has a connotation bordering on manipulation. At the very least it suggests the transition is mechanical, like flipping a switch.

Trust is earned gradually, over time, and on its own time. It takes a skilled and experienced human being to know when a sufficient level of trust has been achieved. Of course, this is much easier in face-to-face selling situations than with online marketing.

Nevertheless, these principles apply in both situations, which means successful web marketing is simply a matter of adapting your traditional practices to a digital format. Here are three steps for converting trust into profitable outcomes.

#1 – Create Content That Shows How Things Work

In the earlier days of selling we often had to rely on the spoken word to communicate. You could also illustrative brochures to demonstrate what a product looks and feels like.  Actual samples were effective too.

Part of the genius of the Apple retail stores is they provide an opportunity for test driving the machines. A business has to manage expectations, and this includes whether or not the product or service will get the job done, and how well.

In addition to these traditional methods, online content works nicely to earn the trust and confidence of buyers . Content is usually thought of as text, yet, it also includes image, visual tutorials, videos, and audio that educate buyers about how your product or service performs.

Consider creating using a combination of these methods to convert trust into desired outcomes.

Video – Demos of how things work. Live performances. Interactions with real customers. Testimonials. Unusual or interesting applications.

Images – Products or services in use. Step-by-step, how-to tutorials. Happy customers. Comparisons, such as before and after. Diagrams and charts.

Audio and Written Copy – Engaging stories. Lists. Ask and answer questions. Persuasive or personalized content.

#2 – Clearly Communicate the Process for Earning Trust

How and when trust is earned varies from one person to the next. Therefore, it is best to take your time, because moving too quickly to covert interest into a sale or agreement of any kind will likely stop or even end the process.

When a business moves too quickly the buyer has a sense that something has been skipped, or will be. This is why it is essential to have a written sales process that communicates to the buyer in advance where you are taking them, and how you will get there.

Think of your content in as earning the attention of the buyer. What should then follow is a process of interaction that is ideally collaborative. Buyers readily engage when they understand you have a defined plan for taking care of them. This is why it is smart to sell the process that sells your products

So, to be clear. Show your buyers why and how your product or service is the solution to their problem. Engage them with a collaborative process that delivers on that promise. Then be alert to their readiness for moving forward with your company.

#3 – Announce Your Intention to Convert in Advance

I often say that conversion is a by-product of a well-designed sales process. However, there is one thing that will significantly improve your rate of conversion, and that is letting your buyer know in advance that you will be doing so.

The process we created for my landscape business required four meetings to achieve a final landscape design and a signed agreement or contract for building it. Each meeting had a name that informed prospective buyers of the purpose of that meeting in advance.

The fourth meeting was named the commitment meeting. That is what we expected after a series of meetings that often spanned a month of more. Thus, there were no surprises or uncomfortable situations. If a buyer decided not to engage with our process they simply backed out after the first meeting.

My friend Chris Brogan has a creative way of adapting this to his digital marketing. He announces at the beginning of his content that he will be making an offer with the phrase “selly sell.” Knowing that in advance, one can easily skip over that content, and most important, trust with the community is preserved.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)  

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+.

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