The 3 Habits of Successful Social Media Sellers

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There is a simple way to make social media sell for you. It’s practical enough that any business can gain benefits regardless of target market, products, services or size. It is the key to selling more with tools like Facebook, Twitter, podcasts, YouTube, LinkedIn, and blogs.

If you’re going to be successful at anything in life it starts with developing new, better habits.  Social media is no different.  After spending a year researching and scouring the planet for businesses who are quietly making sales with social tools, I discovered their secret.  They can be distilled down to three habits that lead to successful social media sellers, and they will probably surprise you.

1) Get Back to Basics

Successful social sellers are focusing on solving customers’ problems first and choosing technology or “social space” later. So you can do the same.  Begin by following the needs of customers, not gurus nor best practices. You can do this by helping customers understand their problems more clearly, in ways that equip them to discover your solutions (e.g., products and services).

Understanding how to “do social media marketing” or content marketing is worthless if it fails to pay you back in leads or sales. And that means adopting a bold, if old, approach to social media.

For instance, might the answer to selling more with social tools be rooted in joining or starting conversations that are truly worth having? It’s a pretty old-fashioned idea, but wouldn’t it be better to converse in ways that generate customer inquiries, questions you can help them solve? As it turns out, these time-tested ideas are the key to selling more, more often, in social spaces.

Helping customers get important things done and achieve clarity is the starting point for successful social media marketing endeavors—not timing your tweets or posts so you get re-tweeted or liked. When customers understand their problems more clearly they’re better equipped to find answers, ideally products and services.

2) Think Like a Designer

Thinking in terms of basics isn’t enough. In the words of one of ReveNews’ founding fathers, Brian Clark of GMD Studios (@gmdclark), you’ve got to “map out” (design) how each answer you provide will scratch your customers’ itches in ways that cause behavior. I laughed when I first heard Brian say that.  But in studying companies like Intuit all the way down to a local heating and air conditioning business,  Logan-Services, I found Brian is right. It’s a practical, effective way to think about “social design.”

Today’s leading social sellers are mixing in time-tested, direct-response promotions that create opportunities to connect those itches (problems, urges) to products and services. They’re finding ways to create behavior using Facebook, blogs, YouTube, etc.

For instance, on the business-to-business side, companies like commercial real estate firm, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) are capitalizing on customers’ nagging problems by provoking reactions that convert into leads. They’re not really scratching the itch so much as they’re creating one if you think about it. But that works, too. See for yourself.  Their sales force and account team is using provocative, 90-second video clips to create a steady stream of inquiries from agitated (worried) clients.

By revealing “problems customers don’t yet know they have” JLL is making social media produce leads. That’s how they create the itches. And remember, they’re doing this as part of a plan. The videos serve a specific purpose that is part of a larger plan to create leads.

3) Translate: Be Forever Relevant

Businesses selling hand-over-fist on Facebook, blogs, and with LinkedIn use these tools to capture insights on customers’ pain points—so they can put them to work. That’s how they know what to “put out there” on social media platforms. They let customers tell them how and where to be relevant. So starting tomorrow, try inventing ways to start prompting customers to ask more questions–that your products and services answer.

During a recent Food Marketing Institute keynote address, I explained to grocery stores owners how selling with social media means doing more of what you’re already doing “offline.” For instance, grocery store Harris Teeter pays its customers to ask health and wellness questions on its Facebook page. Crazy? Hardly. The store is wisely giving customers incentive to “signal” where they need guidance in their lives so Harris Teeter can be their guide.

But the truth is this strategy isn’t new for Harris Teeter. The store is choosing to do what they are best at—guiding customers. Facebook is not the inspiration. What they have been doing for decades in their stores is. They’ve gotten back to basics.

You Can Do It

How can you start creating opportunities for your business to participate in meaningful, relevant, and very purposeful conversations that  create opportunities for your products and services to become the answers? It’s easier than you think. To help I’ve created a  tips sheet that gives more examples and ways to get started in your daily life.

You might be a one-man or -woman band or directing a group of marketers; a business-to-business or consumer focused company; it doesn’t matter. You can make social media marketing produce more leads and sales, starting tomorrow by adopting the 3 Habits of Successful Social Sellers.

Now go get ’em!

About Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is the authority on making social media sell and corporate trainer to small businesses and global corporations like IBM and Brazil’s energy company, Petrobras. He’s an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded what is today the Google Affiliate Network. He’s adjunct digital marketing professor at Loyola University’s school of business and author of Off the Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You.


Blog: Off the Hook Blog


You can find Jeff on Twitter @jeffreymolander.

6 Responses to The 3 Habits of Successful Social Media Sellers

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