Break Through The Ice With These Social Selling Skills

Lucid Leadership by Rowan B. Colver

If you’re anything like me, social selling is extremely difficult. With an orchestra of subconscious background noise going on behind the scenes, reaching out across the tangible void to meet a person on their level is a real stretch. It’s understandable for even the most sociable of us that when we’re nervous or perhaps hungry and faced with a potential sale, we begin to lose cohesion with our natural friendliness. It’s not that we become bad people, it’s that we become reactionary, impatient, and clammed up.

Desperation is a genuine feeling, we all feel it when confronted with suffering and its potential relief. Customers offer this relief and when we’re just setting out then each customer really matters to us. The thing is desperation can give the impression there is something wrong with our product. It’s off-putting to see a sales-person sweating and chuntering in an effort to get the customer. We need to be relaxed and confident, so much so that we are ambivalent to the outcome of each interaction. We need to give the impression that our product is good enough to be turned down a few times. It’s no mark on the product itself.

When we are uncomfortable or nervous it’s often the case that we lean heavily on our training. When this involves conversation and selling, it’s not difficult to see how this can make us actors instead of honest people. This means that we have to remain natural. These skills will help us to do this but only if we internalise them and allow them to manifest in an honest way. We can only legitimately sell a product or service if we are confident that it works and that it is of great quality. If a person buys our product and discovers it’s cheap and nasty, they probably won’t buy it ever again and will avoid our brand too.

When people meet up in social situations, they mirror each other. By adopting each others’ mannerisms and conversation points, a person can become part of the group mentality. This is something we are all familiar with. In marketing, this is often how we start a conversation. Try to make friends first, and then move on from there. Even if you hit a dead-end, you’ve made a friend. Sounds like a win to me.

We can often begin mirroring or pacing a person before we have begun our conversation. If we notice the way they walk and their speed of attention, we can try and find that same groove in ourselves. Like reading the room, we have to assess what to do and what to say in order to fit in. We can do this with the people that show initial interest in our products and services. Sum up the atmosphere the person brings with them and meet them in that weather. It helps them feel safe and respected.

We can build a rapport with a person in this way by remaining in their groove or zone. Once we have been in this situation for while with a person, we can begin to lead them towards our objectives. This is not cold-calling, you’re not bothering someone with a hard sell. You’re making your abilities part of the natural conversation. Just bring it up that you’re offering such and such service or thing. Sometimes this will be the cue for the potential customer to launch straight into the buying conversation. Sometimes they will make their excuses and walk away. Be prepared for both of these eventualities. Most often, though, you’ll get something in the middle.

Communicate your offerings as if they’re points of interest without offering them personally, let the other person choose when to buy or hire. If they try to detract from this and wind down the sales conversation, don’t force it. Just let them go back to what it was they were talking about before. Offer them a conversation they want to have. The more times we do this the more chance it will be they’ll want to listen to what we have to say.

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Rowan Blair Colver

Rowan Blair Colver

Music writer and humanities educator from Sheffield in England. Democracy of philosophy, comments are welcome. ko-fi.com/rowanblaircolver