If you are puzzled by the title of this post because you think you are up on the latest trends and are sure that “social selling” means selling on social media, be prepared to learn something.
Social selling has a long, long history. In fact, Jesus used social selling.
What? Are you saying that Jesus preached on Twitter and Facebook?
Of course not. Social selling has nothing to do with social media. Nothing. You can use social media for social selling, and in 2016, you would be a fool not to. But social selling is about “social”, not about technology (otherwise, it would be called “technology selling”).
In the words of Jonathan Becher, Chief Digital Officer at SAP:
“While technology can help, social selling is about building stronger relationships with potential buyers, based on an authentic sense of empathy and a deep understanding of the problems they face.”
That sense of empathy is key. If a potential customer feels that you are “one of the good guys” or that you are “one of us”, he will be much more open to buy from you. There is implicit trust. So the sooner a salesperson can determine whether you are a Red Sox fan or a Yankees fan, the sooner he can start sharing a common bond with you and bring you on his side.
Consider the difference between sitting across the table or across a desk from somebody trying to sell you something, or sitting on the same side of the table. Across is confrontational. Same side is cooperative. Same side of the table selling is bound to be more effective, because there is the implicit assumption that the salesperson is on the same side as you.
We humans are so easily swayed by us-and-them psychology (which is why successive Miss Universes have failed to achieve “World Peace“, but that’s another problem to ponder at some other time).
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