Apply Sales Strategies to Make Sales with Social Customers

Apply Sales Strategies to Make Sales with Social Customers

There’s growing buzz in the sales and marketing world around the emergence of the "social customer," but who exactly are they and how are they different from anyone else? And what impact does this type of customer have on companies’ sales strategies?

A social customer is someone who flocks to social media first to learn about products, services, and companies. Unlike traditional consumers, social consumers value the opinions of like-minded individuals who share common interests and experiences. In fact, 70% of U.S. online consumers trust brand or product recommendations from friends and family and 46% trust consumer-written online reviews, while only 10% trust advertising, according to a 2013 Forrester Research survey on branded content. Moreover, social consumers want to engage in conversation with brands, as opposed to one-way ad messages.

This type of individual has changed the role of the salesperson dramatically. In the past, customers were dependent on salespeople to "sell" them on a product or service, but today people research products on their own. Because of this, businesses must be able to sell to consumers who already know everything about them.

So how can businesses adjust their sales strategies to cater to today’s social customer?

1. Change up the Sales Pitch: In order to close the deal, salespeople must bring added value to the table. For example, instead of discussing the benefits of a product (which the consumer probably already knows), inform them on how these benefits will solve their biggest pain points. Moreover, in order to separate themselves from the competition, salespeople must create a personalized experience.

2. Engage in Social Media Conversations: According to a 2012 survey of more than 12,000 consumers from Market Force Information, 78% of respondents said their purchases are impacted by companies' social media posts. Similar to how your sales pitch needs to deliver added value, your social media posts must educate consumers and create meaningful connections. Reach out and join existing conversations with people who are interested in your company, or try asking questions to help gather information about their likes, dislikes, and preferences.

3. Deliver Superior Customer Service: The line between a salesperson and a customer service representative is increasingly blurred. Today’s social consumer is more informed, meaning they often place more emphasis on the entire buying experience. Competitive pricing is no longer the most effective way to generate business, as two-thirds of consumers state that they are willing to spend more with a company they believe provides excellent customer service, according to 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer by American Express. Nowadays, great customer service trumps low prices.

There’s growing buzz in the sales and marketing world around the emergence of the "social customer," but who exactly are they and how are they different from anyone else? And what impact does this type of customer have on companies’ sales strategies?

A social customer is someone who flocks to social media first to learn about products, services, and companies. Unlike traditional consumers, social consumers value the opinions of like-minded individuals who share common interests and experiences. In fact, 70% of U.S. online consumers trust brand or product recommendations from friends and family and 46% trust consumer-written online reviews, while only 10% trust advertising, according to a 2013 Forrester Research survey on branded content. Moreover, social consumers want to engage in conversation with brands, as opposed to one-way ad messages.

This type of individual has changed the role of the salesperson dramatically. In the past, customers were dependent on salespeople to "sell" them on a product or service, but today people research products on their own. Because of this, businesses must be able to sell to consumers who already know everything about them.

So how can businesses adjust their sales strategies to cater to today’s social customer?

1. Change up the Sales Pitch: In order to close the deal, salespeople must bring added value to the table. For example, instead of discussing the benefits of a product (which the consumer probably already knows), inform them on how these benefits will solve their biggest pain points. Moreover, in order to separate themselves from the competition, salespeople must create a personalized experience.

2. Engage in Social Media Conversations: According to a 2012 survey of more than 12,000 consumers from Market Force Information, 78% of respondents said their purchases are impacted by companies' social media posts. Similar to how your sales pitch needs to deliver added value, your social media posts must educate consumers and create meaningful connections. Reach out and join existing conversations with people who are interested in your company, or try asking questions to help gather information about their likes, dislikes, and preferences.

3. Deliver Superior Customer Service: The line between a salesperson and a customer service representative is increasingly blurred. Today’s social consumer is more informed, meaning they often place more emphasis on the entire buying experience. Competitive pricing is no longer the most effective way to generate business, as two-thirds of consumers state that they are willing to spend more with a company they believe provides excellent customer service, according to 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer by American Express. Nowadays, great customer service trumps low prices.

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