How a consumer makes a purchase has been of great interest to salespeople since sales began. This buying behavior is a mix of a lot of complicated factors -- rational, emotional, and some completely random -- and decoding it is considered one of the crucial business success formulas.
What makes it worse is that this buying behavior is subject to change without notice. There are a lot of external factors determining its variability, be it the buyer’s geography, demographic, job, or education.
With the rise of the internet, and the following explosion of social media, this has undergone a huge change. According to a study, Americans aged 18 and older spend an average of 8 hours 41 minutes on media devices like smartphones and computers. Considering that most people are awake 16 to 18 hours a day, this is A LOT.
67% of the buying journey is finished even before they contact a sales rep. Traditional sales routes like cold calling or cold emailing have stopped working. Less and less people are showing up at trade shows. Just an example:
Only 4% of buyers have a favorable impression of a salesperson who reaches out cold.
Today, buyers’ first impression of a company is what they find online. If a company’s online presence and/or search engine optimization program is weak, then their sales reps are at a significant disadvantage. Just to put this in context, a recent study has found that 40% of companies will be gone in 10 years due to digital disruption.
This is all the more relevant in context of banks and financial institutions, where business has always been about relationships. With databases selling like hot cakes and automated robotic emails just a shade short of spam being sent in millions, it’s even more important to stay personalized.
It’s no longer Business-to-Business or Business-to-Consumer, but Human-to-Human.
Continuing along the same lines, let’s talk about how Fintech (the use of software to provide financial services) is disruptive to traditional banking. Financial services companies used to sell their products through brokers and branch networks, but the rise of price comparison websites has turned that model on its head. The price transparency, speed of purchase and choice offered by the aggregator websites have proved popular with consumers and sparked strong growth.
Technology can destroy existing industry mammoths. Similarly, if banks don’t innovate their customer acquisition strategy, they could be replaced as well.
A strong step in the right direction can be the use of social selling. The power of social selling can also help small banks survive - and exceed - the performance of the Goliaths. How?
Big banks do well because they have a huge network; they grow through their existing customers. However, smaller banks can leverage LinkedIn, Twitter and social selling to boost their network.
The steps to follow for social selling are simple:
- Use tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator to find your potential buyers
- Engage with them on LinkedIn and Sales Navigator
- Cultivate the relationship - establish trust, share insights, continue engagement
- Take the conversation offline to a coffee meeting or a phone call
Send Personalized Connect Requests: One of the easiest ways to talk to your prospects is by sending a connect request. If you have a strong LinkedIn profile that establishes your thought leadership, more often than not, the connect request will be accepted. Once the connection is made, you can then use it to send relevant messages and build a conversation. To increase your chances of accepting the request, make it personalized. Mention common interests, schools, hobbies, a testimonial they’ve received, or an NGO they’ve worked with.
Break the Ice/Have a Conversation: The easiest way to build a conversation is by picking a common topic. Search their profile for a conversation starter or information that you can use to craft a relevant message.
You can utilize Google Alerts, Inside View, or Sales Navigator to find latest news articles or updates about them, and start with a compliment!
Engage with Insights: Share valuable information to initiate a conversation and establish yourself as a knowledgeable industry leader.
If you’re interested in further social selling strategy or more tips like this, you might want to check out a case study about my personal experience helping a bank's SVP generate a $22 mil. commercial loan pipeline in 4 months. Click here to read the case study.
Additionally, if you’re interested in having a conversation about social selling for your financial institution, feel free to reach out via email at email@example.com, through LinkedIn InMails or leave a comment below!