Photo Credit to Clarisse Meyer @ https://unsplash.com/@clarissemeyer
Great Sales People learn the importance of Story Telling early at their career. Sometimes even before selling anything, they already are great story tellers. There is a reason why that’s important or more accurately a bunch of reasons, but as stories go, I will focus on the one I like the most: people like hearing stories.
Now, what does Social Selling have to do with this? What can the proper use of your potential online brand, network and content in a process where you are supposed to show value beyond your product achieve? I’ve practically laid it out there for you, but I’ll say it anyway:
Social Selling is just another way to tell a story.
The story of how you’ll help your customers. The story of how they’ll make a difference in their business or careers because of you and what you sold them. It is nothing but the way of creating, telling and showing the story that your customer wants to hear. Here is how it works:
Start with A beginning.
A key part of every story is how you start it. Any good start creates a mood, an ambient. It pulls your audience in, it allows your customer to sit back, relax. It makes them more approachable and it allows you to control the setting. Remember: all good stories are told in the 3rd person.
Know your audience, by prospecting them first. A key concept of Social Selling (and of Story Telling) is knowing who you are talking to. Find them online, research them a bit. What’s the last jobs they’ve had? What about projects they’ve run, or promotions they’ve gotten? What’s the topics they share or want to know more about?
Tailor your story to them and see them open their eyes and gasp for breath when you come to the momentum of your story. If you’ve researched them properly, you should be able to adjust your story to their ears. Are you talking to C-levels, or just to staff members? Are they decision makers or influencers? Technical or Business?
Start with a statement rather than with your elevator pitch. By now, you know who they are and what they might like to hear and trust me, it is not another 5 seconds elevator pitch. State your business as an opening and lead with that. There is a big difference between “Our solutions will help your business” and “We are here to help you”. The first one is widely known as “the pitch”, thus ineffective, while the second one clearly states what any good story states: it is about you, and it is about them.
Get to the middle fast.
Building momentum is not easy, but more often than not people tend to make beginnings too long, which actually stops the momentum or even kills it before it happens. This is the key part of your story, where you deliver the actual value. How are you different, and why? Again, Social Selling helps.
Hammer once, get them in and get real, really fast. They’ve heard your opening, they are paying attention. They are there for you. If you’ve done your homework properly, you’ll know exactly who you are talking to and what they might expect from you. Now that you have their attention, the best way to keep it is by telling them something about them they didn’t know you knew. Name the favorite influencer they follow on LinkedIn or Twitter, and why you follow that person too for subtletly, or repeat them their personal moto if you’ve found one for a direct impact.
Hammer twice, know your value statement. What you have to offer is more than just a solution or a product: it is your comprehensive approach to helping them. Use LinkedIn and other social media to find out what value looks like to them. Are they a long standing customer with any other brand you know? Maybe your competitors? See what companies they follow, what authors they read and adjust your statement. Remember: it is them who assign value to your statement.
Hammer thrice and start closing so before they start suspecting there’s nothing more to your story, tell them how you’ve helped others do what they need to do too. You’ve read about them, you’ve prospected them and you might even be connected to them through others or directly. They’ve heard your statement, they’ve nodded, and you’re ready to jump into the last part of your story. What better transition than just proving that the value you explained is real, through the success of others just like them?
Ironically, that’s what you say when you’re finally making the sale, right? Close it. Some stories end with a bang, some with a reflexive last moment. Others just leave the end open for the audience to decipher. In sales, a good end is one that brings you profit and your customer huge benefits.
Give them what they want which is a comprehensive summary of what you’ve presented to them, and more importantly a reason to trust you. You’ve explained them the what and the how, you’ve show them the benefits other got, now you just need to make them want it. Again, it’s all about customization: if you know their business, if you know them, they’ll nod all along. Have you checked what content they post or share the most? Have you engaged them through it? If you have, then the conclusion is simple: tell them what they want to hear.
Forget the call to action, which is a simple sales technique that bothers more than it helps sometimes. You don’t need that action plan if your story was appealing enough. All you need is either a great ending (“THIS is what YOU will get” kind of finale) or an open one so either way they’ll be drawn to you.
And as all stories go, we’ve reach nothing but…THE END. 🙂