You’re at the mall and you find a shoe store that has some pretty great boots and sneakers on the window display. However, you haven’t heard of the brand before, and hence, you want to make sure that these shoes are as sturdy and durable as they look. What do you do?
Google it, of course!
It’s not legit if it doesn’t have an online reputation—that’s just how it works these days.
It’s how you find out what people are saying about them and how you gauge whether those shoes are worth it.
That’s precisely what happens in the B2B sector too when you reach out to your prospects. How do they know you’re legit? By checking out your Linkedin or Twitter pages!
And that’s why personal branding in sales is such a big deal.
Your personal brand is often the only window a stranger has to understand what you’re all about.
“As a salesperson, we must be visible. We must put ourselves out there so that the buyers, when they’re looking around for answers, can find us.”– Koka Sexton, Social Selling Visionary
Why Sales Managers Urgently Need To Get Their Teams to Leverage Social Selling
#1 Your Personal Brand Has The Power To 7x Your Conversion Rates
It’s no secret that people connect with other people rather than brands. That’s why employee profiles always get more organic reach than the company page, no matter how amazing the brand is.
Leads generated by the sales team’s social media handles are seven times more likely to convert as opposed to those generated by the company’s social media handles. Moreover, sales reps who use social media in their sales process outperform 78 percent of their peers. It’s a simple, no-cost, yet effective solution to boost the number of quality leads in your pipeline.
“It’s time to go where your buyers live: online. If you pride yourself on being where your buyers are, then when aren’t you online yet?”– Jamie Shanks, CEO, Sales for Life
#2 Social Selling is How You Rev up Your Referral Game
When a branding message shared by employees reaches 5X the number of people it does when shared by the brand itself, you know how powerful personal branding is. That’s how much the individual is valued over the organization.
The more you put yourself in front of your prospects, the more they get to know you. The more they get to know you, the more they trust you. And the more they trust you, the more they refer you to their network.
#3 It’s How You Set Yourself Apart From The Crowd
Personal branding isn’t just about appearing in front of people. It’s about appearing unique and original to beat your competition. When their employees stay engaged on social media, companies outperform their unengaged peers by 202%.
That’s why determining the theme of your personal brand is crucial. You can’t have the most basic, unoriginal personal brand and wait for it to blow up. Personal branding needs to be executed with care. Lets’ see how in the next section.
Here’s How You Can Effectively Apply Social Selling
#1 Build Your Network With Caution
It’s common knowledge that connecting with influencers and building your network helps you find your prospects faster. But that’s easier said than done. It’s not about connecting with a hundred people a day and spamming them with the same old impersonalized pitch.
Every connection you make requires you to put in value. Every connection requires an effort on your part to talk to them and find out about their needs so you can make a personalized product pitch to help them fix their problem.
After all, you’re representing your organization as a salesperson. How you approach them gives them an impression about the service they can expect when doing business with your company.
“Selling to people that actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers that don’t.”– Seth Godin, Best Selling Author
#2 Spruce up your LinkedIn Profile
What’s the first thing you do when somebody new reaches out to you on Linkedin? Check out their profile of course! That’s how you know who they are and what they do. That’s why you need to have an impeccable profile ready for your prospects.
You don’t want them to see just sales content and the features and benefits of your product. You want them to find an authentic human being. That’s why having a strong personal brand matters when it comes to social selling. There’s so much you can do to create an interesting, genuine Linkedin profile to show your prospects.
#3 Discover Competitor Insights & Keep Customer Churn in Check
Obviously, you’re not the only one who’s leveraging social selling to multiply sales. Nearly 70% of all sales professionals and 90% of top performers use social selling tools for lead development.
Even if you lose some of your prospects to your competitors, your social selling efforts will still pay off as you get to understand why that happened. Social selling tools help you analyze how your competitors are positioning themselves on social media. You get to analyze what your competitors are saying on social media and how your prospects interact with them.
All this can give you invaluable intel about where your brand might be lacking in its messaging and how it needs to be adjusted. There are plenty of ways you can monitor your competitors’ social selling strategies to see if you’re on par with them.
Recycling is for Garbage Disposal, Not For Your Personal Brand
It’s tempting to duplicate a great post you found on Linkedin or repost old stories and quotes that have been shared a thousand times already. But is that really how you want to brand yourself?
To build your personal brand, you need unique, original content—something authentic enough for your audience to identify you with.
You don’t have to worry about being the subject expert at what you say. Neither do you have to make it all about one sole thing. While talking about your purpose as a B2B salesperson could be your primary theme, sharing elements about your personality as a human being every once in a while is what makes you real.
This isn’t to say that you need to show yourself sunbathing on the porch of your 5-star resort in the Maldives. That may work great on Instagram, but on Linkedin, all that matters is your value and how you intend to serve your purpose as an authentic, living, breathing human being.
Try to answer the following questions:
- Who am I talking to?
- What value am I offering them?
- What is my objective in building my personal brand?
- What aspects of my life can I share to make my brand as authentic as possible?
- What are my key areas of interest?
- What sets me apart from other people in my industry?
- What do I do better than everyone else?
When you answer these questions, you should be able to picture what your brand might look like. The more concrete your idea of your personal brand, the easier it becomes to bring it to reality.
Worried About Your Niche?
So we’ve been talking about why it’s such a big deal to have a great personal brand and how you can use it to leverage social selling so far. But what if your niche isn’t unique enough? Surely, there are plenty of people already who do it better than you? Won’t you pale in comparison?
A lack of confidence about engaging on social networks is the most common problem sales teams face when it comes to social sales. To solve this, Gay Hendricks’ book ‘The Big Leap’ talks about making a list of your expert zones and overlapping them to find your genius zone—a zone that is unique, specific, and largely left unexplored by the majority.
Let’s say you’re in the B2B Saas niche and you’re an expert in the areas of sales prospecting, social selling, and building your personal brand. In this case, your overlapping genius zone could be helping salespeople working in B2B SaaS build their personal brand on Linkedin in order to help them prospect better.
That way, you get to have your own unique personal brand with a unique value that isn’t already over-saturated on Linkedin.
So What’s Your Positioning Statement?
That said, it’s always important to have a concrete positioning statement to pivot your brand with. Having such a statement can help you make sure you’re staying on brand and prevent off-brand or confusing messaging.
At Slintel, most of our salespeople use the positioning statement – ‘Helping companies target their top 3% of buyers’.