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Photo Credit to Raquel Martínez @ https://unsplash.com/@fiteka

75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level/vice president (VP) executives  use social media to make purchasing decisions.

IDC (*)

That’s a powerful statement right there, and considering it doesn’t come from a sales person but rather from an analyst such as IDC, it should not be ignored. Specially not if you’re in the B2B business as I am. The business has changed. We don’t sell the same way we used to, and they don’t buy the same way they were accustomed to.

This post will be more about them buying than you selling. If you’ve been in sales for some time you know that both actions (buying-selling) are like the two sides of the same coin and yet they are not always connected. Yes, your customers need to buy what you sell and yes, you need to sell it. Those are givens of course but truth be told, sales people are used to being a bit more in control of the whole process than buyers. Or so we liked to think.

Whatever the case, that changed as free and reliable information became more available to buyers. It wasn’t a sudden thing though, as it took time. I think it’s only fair to say that if sales reps are the reason #SocialSelling exists, then it’s fair to say that buyers are the reason why it’s counterpart, #SocialBuying exists as well.

It was them who decided to go get information online and before that, it was them who decided to post information online. What kind of information, you might be asking yourself. All you need to do to figure it out is try thinking as a customer, as someone buying something instead of someone with a quota. Try remembering the last time you bought something new or something you needed.

Most likely, when you do buy something, product or service, you as a buyer:

  • Google that something and then narrow it down
  • Compare it to other options such as manufacturers, versions, etc.
  • Go to specific pages or forums and read trusted user reviews on that product or service
  • Ask on different Social Networks about that product or service, maybe get a reference from a respected Social Media Incluencer
  • Try to find the best available price and payment options
  • Request more information online, without even dialing a phone number

When you are a Company or you are buying something that you will use for your business, you might additionally want more information, so you will:

  • Google the vendor, and even search for success stories from existing customers they might have
  • Find out if your competitors are using that product or service
  • Google that Company’s executives or sales team

And of course, once you get that Company’s attention and most likely get a sales person assigned to help you, you might as a customer, do what you are so used to doing as a sales rep by now:

  • You’ll log into LinkedIn and try to figure out f the person taking care of you is right for you
  • You’ll try to find some connections to that company and/or that person, maybe get a reference

 

If you’re nodding right now, that’s your sales person inside of you, probably agreeing to what’s described above as your normal behavior as a buyer, most likely mirroring your cadence as a seller.

There’s probably no better way of explaining how business is done than just walking the same steps your customers do when buying. There is a big difference between working with your customers for their benefit, than just trying to sell to them after all, even more now that they can do exactly what you can even before meeting you.

If you haven’t considered #SocialSelling yet…this is exactly why you should. Your customers are already #SocialBuying after all.

(*) Social Buying Meets Social Selling: How Trusted Networks Improve the Purchase Experience. Full white paper available here. 

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Also published on Medium.