Over the past year, social selling has become a hot topic in many business conversations. Selling is no longer about being an interrupter – people don’t often appreciate cold calls that interrupt their lives and work schedules. Now, the emphasis is on identifying and nurturing relationships so you are there when it matters most to clients, instead of only reaching out when it is most convenient for you.
Nurturing business relationships isn’t anything new. What has changed though, is the emergence of social media over the past 5 years and how it has helped eliminate the barriers of connecting with people. With Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, millions of people are now at your fingertips – just a click away from becoming a virtual connection. But whether it is tweeting with a stranger who asked a question on Twitter, or connecting with someone you’ve never met nor talked to on LinkedIn, the one thing that has changed is the quality of those relationships.
People are simply adding connections for the sake of increasing their total network and then doing nothing more with those relationships until they send a message to their new connection pitching their product. What they don’t realize is this actually isn’t social selling – it’s just a new method of cold calling.
Instead of simply connecting with someone for the sake of connecting to drive up LinkedIn Connection totals (or Twitter Followers), take the extra step and try to nurture a real relationship. Make your network about quality instead of simply quantity. Send them a follow-up note thanking them for connecting (never an auto-reply!), try and set up a call to have a brief chat, and put in some effort to get to know them a bit more. You never know when they might be able to help you with a future business problem, or when you might be able to help them.
That is also why here at Introhive we score all of the connections and relationships that are inside our database. We recognize that in this day of social selling not every relationship is made equal. This score gives our users a guideline as to how well someone knows someone else, so when they are looking to ask for an introduction into someone (or simply ask about some background intel) they’ll know if this is a real relationship or not.
How are you going out of your way to create real and lasting relationships with those you meet online? We’d love to hear your story.