How do you sell on social? There are many ways. Let’s not forget social is an umbrella term that can be used for a vast range of marketing tactics, business functions, branding purposes and more. However, when it boils down to social media and sales, a.k.a. social selling, being a trusted advisor is one way to be there, when and where the buying happens.

Pushy sales and marketing tactics have little impact since consumers and professional decision makers dispose of more tools than ever before to find information on their terms in this digital era. Prospects and customers are sitting in the drivers seat and interact when and how they want. They are allergic to irrelevant messages marketers want to push down their throats.

With the changing attitudes of customers regarding advertising, businesses and buying, the rules of sales and marketing have altered. Aggressive techniques such as cold calling are much less effective as the interactions between businesses and (potential) buyers now pass through a filter, called the Internet.

With the advent of social media, the rules of selling and generating leads have changed even more (and, yes, you can sell using social networks and media).

Social data and interactions play a role in sales and marketing, when looking at them from a cross-channel and customer-centric customer journey and lead management perspective. However, there is more: the social media phenomenon has impacted traditional ways of doing business that have now moved to online platforms.

Social selling: contribute in a valuable and personal way

A great example of this is networking, something every sales person has always done. Networking used to be a predominantly offline activity, happening at events or in special networking groups.

Furthermore, just as offline networking groups were created to expand your network (before starting to pitch) by delivering valuable contributions, social networking is about investing in relationships, understanding the social behavior and networks of members, and the value you, as a person representing a company and brand, bring into the group.

Contributing in a valuable way, for instance, by being a reliable source of information, makes you stand out of the crowd and makes you a trusted advisor. This way, you are an important economic asset for your business, since a really valuable advisor and contributor, is what people seek in their information gathering and buying journeys.

When you can identify their buying signals and most of all, are the person whose advice people trust, your chance of being the person they will buy from increases. It’s a very competitive world out there, and many businesses offer similar products and services and have very similar values.

The difference is you: how you can translate these values into actions and how you can become the person buyers turn to since they know you have answers, sound advice and a collaborative spirit? The answer is simple: just do it. Collaboration, identification, trust and participation are all elements of a social selling approach.