I have to admit, the term “add value” gets said a lot. It is mentioned and slapped all over the internet so much and so often that it’s easy to just blank it out and become accustomed to hearing the phrase.
The tricky thing is, actually adding value is often not what salespeople do. They might think they are adding value in their messaging, but that is what most sales reps do. So it’s not really adding anything spectacular.
The whole mindset of social selling is about the value, sociable aspects of interacting with prospects. This is the chance the salesperson who wants to make a real difference and drive real change in their buyer’s company can capitalize on.
Unless you are selling the single best product or service in existence on the earth, you can’t solve every single problem a company faces with just your solution alone. Let’s look at the ways you can provide value when social selling.
#1 – Introduce partners and resources
You don’t need to be making referrals to affiliates or revenue sharing on any introductions you make. That’s because not every introduction you make between buyers and a person you know that could help means business will be done between them.
The point is, you can make a useful introduction to a friend or colleague who is an expert in XYZ. You can make an introduction to a blog post you read that you know the prospect would find useful based on conversations you have had with them. You could introduce them to a great tool that you have just found and started to use (of course not in competition with you!).
Introduce a strategic partner or alliance that could be formed. For example, if your prospect is the decision maker at a startup marketing automation tool, you could introduce them to a digital agency of a similar size and target buyer persona so that they can help each other complete projects with clients who need each others service.
#2 – Don’t forget about referrals
Naturally, it makes sense to refer people who can actually do business with your prospect. There is a balance to this though. You can’t introduce your connections to prospects too many times within a short space of time, it would feel exploitative. But where there is genuine value, it is worth doing.
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A nice bonus of giving a referral to your prospect is that you need to understand who their buyer is to give them one. In a lot of instances, this information is useful in helping you build your plan to help them. It is also helpful in terms of the buyer knowing you understand their business and have already helped them to try and win new business, even before you became an extension of their company by working with them.
#3 – Stay on top with social love
The most obvious social selling value-add method is to engage your prospect’s social posts. The standard likes, comments and shares of a prospect’s posts are a good way to stay top of mind and to start some interaction going.
The other part of this is to actively go and find the content the prospect has produced and share it with a tag mentioning them. It’s all about exposure and support for their ideas and message when you do this. For me, I often try to aim to get as many interactions as possible.
I never “want more likes” on my posts, but I can’t tell if a person in my network read the article I shared by the prospect and went on to connect with them. At least if they leave a like or comment on the post I have an inclination that they have read the post, found it helpful and maybe went on to connect with the prospect to share their own two cents and ideas on the post.
#4 – Provide your honest feedback
One thing I like to do with prospects is to read what they are doing and sharing, but weigh in with my feedback privately. There is certainly an art to this, you, of course, have to be tasteful and not go in and destroy your prospect with super harsh feedback, duh.
But in the exact same way the “challenger sale” explains that helping a person to think of things in a way they hadn’t before is a helpful angle to advance a sale. This is based on increased credibility and your level of expertise – you can replicate this in the early stages of the conversation with your prospect.
For example, my prospect writes a new blog post on the company website or publishes a LinkedIn article. Have a read of it and understand the help they are trying to provide readers with the post.
If you have lots of experience writing content, you could compliment their writing style and recommend a new idea they hadn’t used in their writing to help make their article more powerful.
On the flip side, if they make an interesting point in the post you can relate back to it and explain a story from your experience where a different idea might have been the better solution, for example. You are just opening their mind to new ideas, not pronouncing anything as wrong or not a good idea.
Take the right approach
The stigma attached to salespeople often means all salespeople can be painted by the same brush. It’s unfair to label all salespeople the same, social sellers if they behave how they should are working toward breaking that stigma.
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By providing value and really helping the prospect with whatever it is they need and want (social love, content, building relations with other companies and individuals, new business) you are standing out and building huge credibility.
There will be other ways you can help a person individually and in company-wide terms that will depend on context and their situation. Whatever they are, I’d like to hear. Please send me a message on LinkedIn or Twitter. Wherever you hang out on social, let’s connect.