Episode 53 of Landscape Digital Show reveals how to create a social selling plan for getting buyers to know, like and trust your business.
As I read that headline I wrote for this article, the phrase know, like and trust strikes me as overused. How about you?
The truth is those words matter more than ever when it comes to social selling.
Social selling is powerful and becoming more so as the technology improves. But you first have to get the basic foundation in place.
It’s a fact that people want to buy. They have problems to solve and dreams to fulfill. But they will not take action if everything is not right, and they’ll make that decision at a gut level.
Smart people trust their intuition when making important buying decisions such as choosing the company that will beautify and maintain the outdoor environment of their home, their castle, their most significant investment in this lifetime.
When you put it like that, suddenly trust takes on new meaning, doesn’t it?
Perfect. Let’s get to work building your social selling plan for using all forms of marketing, including social media, for getting buyers to know, like and trust your business.
I. Principles of Social Selling
These principles put a frame around the current selling environment that has been greatly influenced by social media over the past decade.
#1. Business is Now Personal – Most people will not even approach a business nowadays unless they have a relationship with a person in it. Use your media to help them get to know you.
#2. People Like to Collaborate – If you can get buyers involved, they will be emotionally invested in the creation of their own solution, which means they will naturally make the financial investment to acquire it.
People like to be involved. Use your media to give them that experience and they will buy.
#3. Communities are the New Markets – Thinking in terms of markets produces faceless marketing that is not trusted.
Building trust takes time; it comes from being visible and active in the places where buyers are hanging out. That community is where trusted relationships grow.
Remember these principles when choosing your digital marketing channels and the content that you will share to move people to action. First, let’s consider the channels.
II. 4 Pillars of Social Selling
#1. Modern Website – Your website is the primary vessel or container for storing and delivering your media content that will help people to know, like and trust your business. Is is personal? Is is collaborative? Does it encourage community?
#2. Intimate Newsletter – This is how you get the word out that you’ve just published new content on your website or any other channel that will help your community of subscribers.
#3. Consistent Blog – This could also be a podcast show like this one. It’s where you consistently provide fresh content that builds your digital footprint and helps your site’s ranking.
Trust is a function of relationships, and you cannot be successful them if you are not consistently showing up to add value.
#4. Active Social Media – This should be self-evident but it bears repeating. You have to be actively engaged with your community of buyers if you expect to build trust. If you want to measure how you compare against your peers in this department on LinkedIn, just Google Social Selling Index and check out your score and how to improve it.
The third and final step for creating a social selling plan is where the magic happens, creating social content that sells.
III. Social Content that Sells
Content that sells is content that builds trust because that’s what ultimately gets people to sign on the line that is dotted. That content can accomplish many objectives, but in its simplest form it should:
1. Answer questions
2. Solve problems
3. Provide inspiration
Think about media in general and why people tune in. They want answers, solutions to problems, and ideas that inspire them.
Ideally, you want to be their go-to source for all three.
You have to know your audience’s challenges to answer their questions and solve their problems. And you have to inspire them to take action so that they can actually enjoy the benefits of what your business sells.
Let’s face it, getting people to know, like and trust you is selling. That’s why it’s interesting that the more recent term social selling implies a different take on social media marketing. Social is personal and selling is personal, so it stands to reason that social media should connect with people on a personal, emotional level.
Social selling is primarily removing obstacles. People want to buy but there are obstacles that stand in the way of them trusting your business, and the same is true for its competitors.
Here are 4 examples specifically for landscaping and lawn care companies that are equally applicable to many other industries.
#1. Overcharging – This is a fear many people have. Addressing it can be tricky because often there is a reason why your pricing is higher than the competition.
Use your media to show them why by being honest about what’s built into your solutions.
There are countless things that happen behind the scenes or during construction that justify a higher price. Show people what that is or they will have no choice but to judge the book by its cover.
#2. Unreliable or untrained staff or workforce – Nobody wants to or should have to babysit their project or clean up after a crew.
Probably the best way to convey this with your media is testimonials from real customers. And be sure to get their permission to use their real names because without that it looks like smoke and mirrors.
#3. Unsafe chemicals, pollutants, or irritants – Creating and maintaining landscapes is messy because it’s disruptive. The company that wins the business is the one that shows it understands, among other things, local ordinances and how to manage even what seems unmanageable.
You especially want to use your media to show buyers you know what they don’t know and can guide them through it all.
#4. Inconsistent follow-up – Communication is vital for building trust. No company is perfect, but those that have systems in place to communicate consistently will build confidence with buyers.
As you can see, social selling with digital media is no different than traditional face-to-face selling. Both require planning and deliberate implementation of that plan.
If you are a beginner, and even if you aren’t, keep this as simple as you can. As you progress you’ll gain insights and make discoveries about what works best, such as which channels, the type of content, and so forth.
Just keep one thought in mind and make it part of your sales and marketing training:
When all things are equal, and sometimes even when they are not, people will do business with people that they know, like and trust.
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Call to Action
The call to action for this episode is to commit to a simple social selling strategy that gets consistently implemented. If you can do that you will be ahead of 2/3 of the companies in your industry. That’s what the research proves.
Be sure the cornerstone of that strategy is personally engaging with buyers on a regular basis to develop and nurture relationships. Remember that most people want a relationship with someone in a business before they will approach that business.