If you were to enter any sales office in the country and ask what the latest buzzword is at meetings and water cooler talk, it will likely be "social selling." Social selling has become the new hot topic nobody can stop talking about, mainly because of the influential culture social media has introduced to modern society.
Social selling is popular among sales professionals because of its vast outreach potential. In fact, We Are Social states that there are more than 2 billion active social media accounts. What salesperson wouldn't want to tap into that goldmine? However, what is social selling, exactly, and how can real estate agents use it to increase their sales goals? LinkedIn has tapped into that unanswered inquiry and created a program that measures an individual's social selling ability: the Social Selling Index.
What Is Social Selling on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is the most popular professional social media platform in America. According to LinkedIn, "social selling is about leveraging your professional social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships, and ultimately, achieve your sales goals." To help you understand your social selling skills, LinkedIn measures the following four main categories:
1. Establishment of Your Professional Brand:
Complete your profile with the customer in mind. Share with others what you can bring to the table and why you would be the right fit for the professional needs in your niche market.
2. Focus on the Right Prospects:
Don't spin your wheels reaching out to just anybody. Hone in on the right tools and search methods to discover viable prospects.
3. Engagement With Insights:
Keep informed of current news and trends in your industry and share them. Become the expert in your field. By establishing credibility, you become the go-to person for related questions.
4. Building of Trusted Relationships:
Connect with other users and start building on the foundation of trust that's necessary for procuring successful relationships.
How Is the Social Selling Index Score Obtained?
LinkedIn rates a user's social selling skills with a score from zero to 100. The score is based on the depth and quality of activity based on each of the four main categories. According to the LinkedIn Help Center, measurements are taken on the following:
- How complete your profile is, any long-form posts you've written, and the followers that have resulted from it
- The amount of connections you have and the rate of acceptance with those connections
- Your social animation, including comments, messages, and groups joined
- Your profile views, people searches, and days active
Why Is the Social Selling Index Score Important?
LinkedIn proves that the higher the score, the more successful a person is at reaching his or her sales goals. The site claims that highly active LinkedIn users gain 45 percent more sales opportunities, are 51 percent are more likely to hit their quota, and are 80 percent more productive. Everyone Social offers similar findings, explaining that Microsoft saw an increase of 4.3 more opportunities with every 10 points raised on the index. The score is not a miracle cure for increased sales, but it does show a strong correlation between specific networking activity and an increase in sales opportunities.
LinkedIn's Social Selling Index has created an impressive calculation system to measure your social selling capabilities. When used actively and correctly, the numbers should yield positive results. What this index fails to do, however, is to measure the end results for you. If you choose to participate, you will need to be accountable for investing in the right search tools, training yourself on the methods, and keeping track of how your level of activity drives your bottom line.