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5 productivity hacks for social selling
Let's face it, you can waste a lot of time when you start social selling. Here is a guide to some top tips to keep yourself productive.
When it comes to social selling, you can’t wing it.
You need to have a plan otherwise your results will be hit and miss. As I speak with sellers who struggle with it, I find the common threads in each story I hear.
The two main issues I see time and again are trying to find easy wins and the second is not having a plan. Those two issues go hand in hand because, back in 2017, messaging was easier, less noisy, today there is a lot of nonsense. This means not only do you need to message and engage prospects multiple times, you need to plan it so that each interaction is helping you get to a positive end result.
I’ve met sellers, who, when I’ve asked who they are prospecting right now, they can’t tell me, nor can they tell me what their last or next action is.
Given it might take multiple touchpoints, if you can’t show me a list of people and know where you are up to, you are going to struggle with social selling.
So, for this article, I’ve put together some quick productivity tips to help you get more success from your social selling.
#1 Write down your process
First off, you need a written process you are going to follow. For many people they don’t have a structure to their activity and that ends in failure. We all know it’s not going to be a one message and done process, if only it was that easy. We are going to have to engage prospects multiple times.
I wrote a whole process for this, which I call the Seven steps. It’s a framework for moving prospects on a journey from complete stranger to warm contact. It gives structure to your process.
One reason the process is important is that if you do too much too fast you will freak your prospects out and they will run a mile, but likewise, if you leave too long a gap you end up where much of the work you’ve done is lost.
Here is how I do it….
I have three distinct phases, these phases align with my content and my outreach activity.
Attract — This phase is about breaking the ice with prospects, not being the a-typical seller. This is about being seen, building familiarity and trust. There is no sales intention here at all.
Nurture — This is about building value and finding their needs, wants, desires and goals. This is where I establish myself as a valuable contact in their network. Often this phase can quickly move into a sales conversation, but that’s not my expectation.
Convert — As my prospects progress through my process, this becomes about turning the interest into a conversation and moving it offline. This is where I ask them for a conversation.
If I do the process right, the last part gets easier. If I don’t do the first two, my job at the end gets harder.
You can waste a ton of your time on social media, if you want to get the best results, have a written plan, follow it and improve it as you go.
#2 Connect Early
My experience has been that the longer you are connected to someone the easier it is to strike up a conversation and book a call.
Why? Because your content can make a big impact on someone over time. We often place too much importance on one post and forget the cumulative impact of posting. There is a stat floating around that someone will need to consume 7 hours or 21 pieces of content before they decide to buy. I’m not sure how true that is, but the point is clear, content helps you warm prospects and break down barriers.
So here is my big piece of advice, aside from telling you to post regularly, it is that you need to connect with your prospect ahead of time. Who are the list of people you’d love to work with in the next six months? Connect to them now and let the content do some of the work.
Don’t wait until it’s time to work on that specific prospect, do the connecting work ahead of time. I’ve connected to 400 prospects in the last 3 months, I can’t possibly manage to prospect all of them now, but I’ve done the work so that for some, they may see me in their feed over the next 3–6 months before I ever reach out.
You’ve got 100 connection requests you can send each week, so use them.
Quick Tips for connecting:
Avoid generic messaging like “just growing my network” or a soft sales pitch
If someone doesn’t accept within two weeks withdraw it and try again in a few months
If you can engage with some of their content beforehand it boosts acceptance
#3 Create a List of Prospects
Building on the last point, you need a defined list of people you are working on. I’ll give you a tip, if you can spend your entire working week on social media, you can probably prospect around 150 people at a time.
But if you can only spend an hour a day, you probably need to work on 25 people per week. Trying to do more will cause your process to break as you won’t be able to commit to the time involved.
So, make a list of prospects, use a spreadsheet or a Sales Navigator lead list, if you do use Sales Navigator, use the notes so you can keep tabs on where you are up to. Remember, if you leave too much time between actions, some of your work to build relationships will be undone.
If you are going to use a spreadsheet here is what you want to include:
Capture their LinkedIn profile URL, so you click and visit them quickly
Capture their name, job title and company (email if you are threading)
Keep a log of your actions, so you know where to pick up
Work on 25 people and keep a record of all your actions. This way you’ll never miss an opportunity to engage or interact with them.
You’ll also never forget someone.
I’ve made this mistake in the past, remembering the person but their name escapes me and as a result ‘that good conversation I had with that guy’ never gets followed up.
Use a spreadsheet or Sales Navigator.
In Sales Navigator, I create a list of prospects I am working on, but also have a second list categorising my prospects who are the most responsive. This helps me keep track of the ones which are progressing better than others.
#4 Timing Matters
I always try to optimise the timing of my engagements so it’s more likely the prospect will respond. If you are sending outreach messages on a Monday morning, you’re highly likely to be ignored.
I’ve found that early mornings, afternoons and evenings work best for messaging. I also check prospects’ active status and recent activity to see when they are last active. This gives me a steer as to whether this is the best time to send messages.
If I don’t get a response, I also have to think that might not be the prospect ignoring me, it could be they just haven’t seen it yet or it got buried by something else. Sometimes prospects mean to reply and then get distracted and totally forget.
If you are using Sales Navigator, remember to check both inboxes. I’ve met many people who don’t check them both and find responsive leads that they hadn’t seen.
I categorise prospects into three camps:
97.5% of users don’t post, so the reality is you need a solid strategy that doesn’t rely just on commenting to achieve success. It’ naïve to think you can eliminate the majority of your prospects and focus just on the active ones.
So, categorise them, Lurkers and Actives are the ones to shoot for, Zombie’s are more of a Hail Mary, so you will definitely have to mix in some other activities like email or phone.
#5 Plan your actions
Nothing will get done if you don’t allocate time to do it. I’ve seen this after training hundreds, if not thousands of sellers through my programmes. If you don’t block out time to work on specific prospects, it won’t happen.
I block out 15 minutes, three times per day for my prospecting activity.
I have a morning, afternoon and evening routine. Each one has tasks allocated against them. I know when I come onto LinkedIn, what I am doing and with whom.
Without this plan, you’ll find yourself running out of time or not having enough time. If you just show up and think to yourself what am I doing now, before you know it, you’ve burnt through 15-minutes faffing around.
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