Don Draper has a lot to answer for. The smooth-talking charmer was able to win over clients with a seemingly mystical understanding of the motivations of others, helping him close the deal. He was also a hard-drinking, chain-smoking character who would often disappear for a long lunch, making it all seem glamorous along the way.
Don’s way of doing business has become as old fashioned as his favourite cocktail. By any modern measure, he would be considered a #salesthrowback.
At LinkedIn, we know that time on social media is time well spent. We recently looked at the behaviours of more than 1,000 UK sales and business development professionals to establish how they were using social media at work, and the impact it had on their performance. Among the findings, we saw that 81% of top performing salespeople relying on social selling, with one in five spending at least 10 hours a week on social media.
So what does successful sales look like today? We’ve got three pieces of advice for any sales professional looking to stay up-to-date.
Invest in relationships: You never know who could come in handy when it comes to building relationships with customers and prospects. That elusive contact you’ve been chasing a meeting with could be an old colleague of the guy in IT, or a family friend of the office intern. Successful social sellers make use of all the connections within their own organisations. The TeamLink feature within LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator enables salespeople to see exactly who in their organisation might be able to make the key introduction, even if they are not connected with their colleague on LinkedIn.
Be relevant: Today’s business decision makers are up to 60% along their decision-making journey before engaging a vendor. For today’s salespeople, the art is engaging potential clients in that 0-60 window, when they’re actively using their networks to gather insight and recommendations. This means it is more critical than ever for salespeople to have a well-established online ‘professional brand’ and share relevant content that will engage their target audiences and get you onto their shortlist.
Picking the right moment. Good relationships take time. Just like you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on a first date, successful social sellers don’t jump straight in with a big ask without learning more about their prospect first. Those that are doing it best use social media to keep track of relevant decision makers within companies, taking note of the articles and updates prospects share in a professional context, and looking for opportunities to respond or check in with them. It doesn’t always have to be about business either – for example, how did their beloved team do at the weekend?
With social media as a tool in their belt, today’s savvy sales professionals don’t have to rely on guessing what motivates prospects, they can see by what they share and talk about on professional social networks like LinkedIn.
On Wednesday June 8, LinkedIn is launching a new campaign called #salesthrowback to drive awareness of what effective sales looks like today, with a humorous look at some old-fashioned sales techniques and ways of doing business. For more information, please check out this SlideShare.