Monday, 19 november 2018 | Brenda Rodríguez López
The world of sales has changed drastically in recent years. The unstoppable boost of the digital universe has favored the creation of new spaces with very different rules. The calls and visits of salespeople are now received with greater antipathy. Brands have realized that users no longer want people to sell them things, but they would rather decide themselves when, where and who to buy from. Social networking sites play a fundamental role in this new paradigm. They serve as the base camp to a new way of selling. What is social selling?
A salesman approaches the door of a house. As he walks up, he takes a quick look at his attire; all is perfect. In any case, he decides that his tie needs a final touching-up. He puts it back in place with elegance and continues. The seller goes to the door decisively and rings the bell. He does not hesitate. A middle-aged man opens the door. The salesman smiles at him and, looking directly into his eyes, explains what the reason for his visit is. In a few seconds, he has managed to convince the host to let him pass. It is not something new. He has worked hard on his speech, also on improving his personal charm. It would be difficult for any person not to be persuaded. He does not offer a product, but a unique, extraordinary and singular opportunity. His oratory ability is amazing, but it is not his only quality. He is organized, patient, knows how to listen and understand the needs of the potential clients. He is “the king of the cold calling model” and his glory days are numbered.
What does social selling consist of?
Social networking sites have opened the doors to a new way of interacting with people, but also to a new way of selling. Old salespeople, like the aforementioned seller, just counted on certain details about clients to get to know who they were. Many of those details just consisted in the impressions that they got from what they were directly seeing. However, it has never been possible to have so much information and data about the potential buyers as we now have. Not only do salespeople have more tools at their disposal to manage to know them, customers have also changed their mindset. They are the ones who take the initiative when buying. They no longer want to listen to a sales pitch until they are really convinced.
Then, it may seem that new sellers should only have to wait for customers. Nothing could be further from the truth. This would be a big mistake. Social selling offers an alternative to the traditional sales model. It is about the use of social networking sites to find contacts, create relationships and encourage dialogue with potential customers (or those who they already have). Resorting to this technique does not mean selling directly through online platforms. It is a new formula that enables professionals and brands to be close to customers, so when they are willing to buy, they contact the professionals who have developed this kind of strategies.
Although it is a rising technique in Spain, many people may be unfamiliar with the concept of social selling. Perhaps for that reason some mistakenly believe that this term is another way of referring to social media marketing. Nonetheless, social selling consists of taking advantage of contacts in networks to reach potential customers and with the final purpose of selling. Its promoters are not professionals who are part of the marketing team in the companies, but social sellers. This formula does not resort to bulk messaging. Instead, it seeks to address people individually. That is, while in social media buyers resort to corporate accounts, professionals in social selling are not anonymous and maintain a bond with customers.