I’m going to talk about how to sell the complex product or service on social media. It is often referred to as solution selling because it is not a straight forward sell. You don’t turn up at someone’s office or on the phone and have a quick conversation and then close. Often you will be meeting with somebody 4, 5 or 6 times or spending time on the phone to do that and you are going to go through some steps really of asking people about their problems, discussing the implications of their problem, they are going to be telling you about the pay off they need to solve that problem, so it is quite a complex process.
That style of selling is often referred to as solution selling and social media is perfect for that. The reason that social media is perfect is you don’t actually sell; you ask people questions about their problems and about their implications and by doing that you are having a public conversation which many other people will see and learn from. For example if you are a manufacturer looking for a particular piece of equipment, by explaining the benefits and explaining some of the solutions that this equipment will offer, other people who follow you or are connected to you will also be a part of that conversation and can learn from that.
So what I want to talk to you about are some of the steps you can take with solution selling.
Let’s just take LinkedIn as a particular example. On LinkedIn you can join a lot of different groups for different professions. On LinkedIn there are groups for industries, professional associations, and there are groups for different areas. There are chambers of commerce for different areas of the country or cities that you live in. On those groups people will have particular problems that they are often complaining about. So for example, if you go to a property forum people will be talking about how frustrating it is locating property or about property prices or local zoning laws. Now what you can do is, you can put out on a LinkedIn group a question; so you might ask people ‘Have you been affected by the zoning laws in your city, tell us about it’ and people will go and talk about those problems. What you can then do is put a further question to them. So they have told you about the problems and you can ask them what the implications are and you can then put forward a number of different solutions or you could talk about how you have particularly dealt with that problem in the past.
All along you are not actually selling. What you are doing is asking people about the problems that they have experienced and then you are discussing ways forward to deal with that. What you are doing is, on that LinkedIn group, that group might have 100’s or 1000’s of followers who are following that conversation and some of those people will join into that conversation. Once somebody has asked you a number of questions, you then get to a point in that discussion where you can say to that person ‘That’s a very good question you are asking. It’s probably a good idea to take this discussion off line. Do you have your contact details, or lets connect privately’ and then what you have there is a sales opportunity to then take that conversation further.
Really what you are doing on social media is a little bit like sitting at the front of a hall and you’ve got hundreds of delegates sitting in the audience. There is a client sitting next to you telling you about a problem that he or she is having and you in front of that audience are explaining some ways forward. Other people in the audience will say ‘Oh wow, we have that problem as well. We need to talk to you.’
If you are someone who is selling complex solutions, what you need to do is find, for example, on LinkedIn groups where people who are similar to your clients who have those problems and putting out questions that you know those people are going to be having and answering problems that people have and offering solutions. What you are doing is by basically answering questions you are proving your competence, you are also displaying credibility and you are attracting a lot of interest in your products.
So the thing to take away from this short video is next time you are selling something, find a LinkedIn group and ask the right questions and never sell.