For as long as businesses have sold products to their customers, there has been a need for unique sales techniques and tactics. Fads come and go but finding truly effective ways to increase your sales success has been challenging.
As we go into the New Year, it is more important than ever that you have the right tools – referral selling and social selling provide you with increased traction and allow you to dip into audience segments not accessible through other sales methods.
Referral selling is exactly what it sounds like. It has actually been around for a very long time, but often gets overlooked by sales organizations chasing the latest craze. In this situation, you simply ask your existing customers for a recommendation to those they know who might also be able to benefit from the product or service that you’re offering. In most cases, the referral is incentivized in some way to encourage current customers to make the recommendation.
Why go for referrals, though? Actually, there are plenty of reasons to do so. One of those is that referred customers are often more loyal than those you earn through other marketing channels. There is also the fact that people referred to your organization by an individual with whom they have a personal or professional connection are more likely to convert into paying customers, and actually offer more value over their lifetime than many other types of customers.
So, make the ask. But be sure to do it live over the phone, or preferably in person if possible. The “close” when a seller asks a customer or contact for referral sale opportunities should never be happen in digital format.
Social selling has not been around as long as referral selling, but it is not brand new, either. In fact, it ties directly into the rise of social media. Use of social platforms like Facebook and Twitter by brands is well established, as is the idea that they should use these tools in a way that creates a two-way conversation. That is the beginning of social selling.
It goes deeper than this, though. Social selling, according to EveryoneSocial, is “about leveraging your social networks to find the right prospects, to build trusted relationships, and ultimately, to help you achieve your sales goals by answering prospect questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.”
Combining the Two
Social selling and referral selling can be dovetailed in social media marketing. After all, your customers already use sites like Facebook on a daily basis. You’ve spent time and effort building your brand on those sites, as well. So, how do you make the most of these tools, though?
First, make sure you’re interacting with your audience – reply to comments, answer questions, and generally be genuine. Next, make sure you share updates that interest your audience (including product or service updates). Your most engaged and loyal members will comment or even share those posts with their own connections, effectively making a recommendation to their friends, coworkers, and family members.
But remember that closing deals doesn’t happen over social or email. People find success in referral selling by doing business with people, not technology.
It can be as simple as that. Yes, it takes time and intentional action. Yes, it requires that you be genuine. However, that’s already part of what using social media is all about, so this shouldn’t be an insurmountable hurdle. Plus, the rewards can be significant.