There didn’t used to be any laws of social selling. Social Selling used to be a small business thing.
‘REAL’ sellers picked up the phone and barraged prospects with cold email.
Then came two problems…
- The pandemic accelerated home working and made the office line almost redundant.
- Email outreach volumes rocketed and diluted the effect of cold outreach.
The ease of access to prospects by phone and email is not as easy as it used to be. The low quality volume game doesn’t work anymore, it’s hard to find the numbers and prospects can spot automated outreach emails a mile off.
So, now, with those challenges in the market, more people are embracing social selling as means to engage prospects in discussion.
Last year, I broke down 7 laws which are platform agnostic, but are key to achieving long-term success in social selling.
Here they are:
Law 1: Sniper Not Machine-Gun
You’re excited about your product or service, and it’s tempting to shout it from the digital rooftops. But hold on a second. Instead of going after everyone and anyone, why not be a bit more selective? Target prospects who actually need what you’re offering. Spend time understanding their goals and pain points. Tailor your approach to resonate with their specific needs, rather than blasting generic messages. Think surgical strike, not a sledgehammer approach. Your conversion rates will thank you.
The problem with a volume approach is that you have to dilute. You dilute your strategy to include more people, the messages get vague, the points you make are wishy washy and you miss the mark more than you hit.
I’ve seen this with many companies doing volume based outreach, the data quality is compromised, the outreach messaging is diluted and as a result the conversion is poor.
Law 2: Profiles Are People
Here’s the thing: Nobody likes being sold to, but everyone loves to buy. The difference lies in the experience. People buy from people they like, know, and trust. So, stop pitching and start connecting. Your social media profile shouldn’t be a billboard; it should be a narrative. A story that tells who you are, what you stand for, and how you can add value. Be human, be you.
For a long time, we would attempt to build relationships during the sales process, once that first meeting was had, we made a conscious effort to build rapport.
That strategy is dead.
Now, the key to unlocking opportunity is to build relationships BEFORE the sales process even starts.
Engaging and building relationships on LinkedIn, through your content, their content and networking on the platform can unlock hard to reach prospects.
Most people forget that profiles are human beings. They see a directory listing and forget that it’s not just how great the value prop is, it’s about how well they gel with the seller.
Law 3: Engagement Is Anti-Freeze
Your prospect is getting pitched at least 5 times per day, most of them are irrelevant nonsense. The sales industry has trained prospects to ignore sellers.
Why? Because we get pitched so much 💩.
Sales teams buy SAAS tools that allow them to scrape and machine gun pitch people faster than they can research and find relevant prospects.
It’s pretty normal now for people to ignore messages from people they don’t know. You don’t need to pitch, you can share useful articles in the DMs, as well as start relationship building conversations.
That’s why engaging prospects in a non sales conversation before ever sending any form of outreach can be hugely successful.
Using engagement with useful articles, commenting and rapport building conversations can give you advantage at the outreach stage, when the recognise your name in their inbox on LinkedIn and email!
Law 4: Connect Before You Need To
It’s all about being connected FOR the right time. Just 3% of your prospects are actively looking for what you offer right now. If you’re strategy is about finding people who are buying right now, you’ll have to pursue a volume game to find the needle in haystack.
Instead connect and build your network so you can nurture them, be present in their world and build the awareness FOR the right time. 97% of the people you outreach to aren’t going to be in buying mode.
If you’re strategy doesn’t have a long-term nurture element to it, you’ll continually be pursuing low hanging fruit.
That’s not scalable.
Fill your profile with prospects, you’ve got 100 connection requests per week – use them.
Law 5: Nurture Your Prospects with Content
People get obsessed with content but for all the wrong reasons. They see the influencers getting huge engagement and think that is the key to social selling. It’s not.
Content is primarily for nurturing and building awareness. If you approach content assuming it will be THE WAY you’ll win business, you’ll be headed for disappointment.
Content has some key objectives.
Building familiarity – people know who you are and can relate to you.
Sharing value – providing useful content for your prospects buyer journey.
Making your offer clear – showing how you help people and giving people confidence in what you sell.
When you approach content as the primary revenue generator, you’ll chase all sorts of crazy strategies, the common one is spending hours commenting and engaging with influencers hoping some of their magic will rub off.
It doesn’t and you are left in a rat race of content creation that makes you no money.
Law 6: Leverage The Breadcrumbs
One of the big mistakes we make is not taking the time to look at the tracks our prospects leave behind. This can quickly help you identify LinkedIn lurkers from LinkedIn zombies.
Despite what you may think, it’s only a tiny proportion of LinkedIn users who post. It’s less than 3% globally.
The advice of engage with prospects content
Lurkers are people who rarely post, but are active on the platform. Zombies are accounts which are inactive. If you don’t observe the difference between the two, you could have low results, because you are trying to connect and engage zombies.
Simple things like:
- Did they like or comment on anything recently?
- Do you they have an active status?
- Have they posted in the last 30 days?
Look for the breadcrumbs. If there are no signs of activity, maybe they aren’t the best prospects for LinkedIn.
Likewise, if your strategy is just to pursue prospects that have posted…. good luck with that.
Law 7: Curiosity Creates Conversation
We think that information will convince them to work with us or make an enquiry. Curiosity is the key. Curiosity has a psychological “pull” factor. It makes people want to dig deeper, learn more, and essentially, engage with your content, send a DM or reply. Curiosity will help you get calls with your prospects.
We see the sales pitches where they tell us how amazing they are.
Most pitches and conversations go along the lines of…
We got amazing results for [insert big name]
We solve these challenges
Shall we have a call”
I want you to pique my interest. I want you to make me curious so I feel like a call might be worth my time.
Human beings love close an open loop.
Curiosity plays to that.
They need to find the missing piece.
Convincing is the traditional method we’re all familiar with. It’s often direct, to-the-point, and leaves little to the imagination. When you’re trying to convince someone, you lay all your cards on the table. You talk features, benefits, and why your product or service is the “best” choice. While this approach can be effective for people who are already primed to buy, it often falls flat for those who are still on the fence or not yet aware they have a need for what you offer.
Curiosity is subtler, yet powerful. Instead of presenting the solution outright, you tease the problem or allude to a solution. You engage people’s natural curiosity, leaving them wanting to know more. The whole premise of curiosity marketing is to engage prospects in a journey of discovery. They find out how your product or service can benefit them almost as if they stumbled upon it themselves.
You need to sell the next step, not the whole journey.
Curiosity kills cats and captures in the interest of potential clients.