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+

How Storytelling Makes More than Marketing Come Alive

If you have not already, you can expect to be hearing more about storytelling as a means for communicating your business message.

Storytelling is one of the cornerstones of sales and marketing, because great stories are memorable, and therefore, readily shared.

Every business interaction with a prospective buyer or customer is a potential story. That’s right, stories about your business are already being shared. Isn’t it time to take a more proactive approach to contribute to the conversation?

Stories are media, and media is media, regardless of the source. This is why every business must become a media company to better manage its story within the communities it serves.

What I’m going to share with you today is that your business can actually use storytelling as a means for accomplishing goals beyond marketing to shape future events that become signature stories.

See the Story Within the Project or Opportunity

During the early days of my landscape architecture and construction business our company was unknown. In order to establish our presence within the industry and local community, we set a goal to complete at least one award-winning project.

One day, we were invited to discuss the renovation of a residential landscape that was such a mess, all of the other contractors walked away from it. As our team considered potential solutions, I got excited because I was beginning to realize that if we could transform this project into an award-winner there would be a great story to tell.

In business and life, you can let chance write your stories, or you can design an ideal result and get to work to make it happen. That’s what we did. It’s a simple practice of starting with the end in mind, and then building the sequential events to manifest that reality.

To accomplish this, we repeatedly asked ourselves one question: Why?

When everything has a purpose it just makes sense. Isn’t that what your prospective customers are looking for from you?

For example, we suggested a gentle water feature and stream for the back yard to create a sense of movement and flow that would naturally guide the eye through the space to the desired focal points. Our client rejected this idea because their dogs would play in the water.

After further consideration, we realized a dry stream (without water) would work equally well. They loved the idea. As a result, whenever a friend asked about the stream built from smooth, water-worn stones, our client shared the story that explained its purpose.

Consumers are attracted to not only what works, but also why, because then everything intuitively makes sense.

Stories Transform Goals into Reality

To succeed with your project, you have to first live the desired result in your mind as if it were real. The story for creating that reality will lead you to the necessary solutions for making it happen. It will identify the challenges that must be overcome.

We did indeed win the highest award possible for that particular project, and many more thereafter, because we always had a story to tell. I’m convinced that first imagining the story that would then become the focus of our marketing is what made it possible.

Facts and even pretty photos are easily forgotten without stories that make emotional connections. Our story captured the drama and imagination of how our team worked to delight our client, and that connected with the panel of judges.

Of course, the panel of judges for your business and mine is every prospective customer that wants to know more about us. Your business may have great solutions, but if you can make them come alive by answering why, you also have a memorable story that resonates with the buyer.

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

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

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