Warming up prospects to make connecting more graceful and relevant is a “value-added” activity. It’s hand touching prospects, not an automated activity -- but well worth your time.
Here are some steps and solid information about tasks that will help you get cozy:
1. Make connecting more likely by "getting to know" your prospect. Build relationships organically by interacting socially first:
- Monitor their online footprint, social and professional -- see what interests them (and also who interests them)
- Get your toe in the water tactfully, just as you would at a party when you start an acquaintance
- Follow and share their content -- it’s give and take
- Share your own relevant content with them (e.g., in a personalized tweet)
- Comment, sparingly, on their brand content when you can add value
- Move toward intimacy organically and naturally, not in a pushy way
2. Find what stage they are in the buying cycle. One thing to look for is whether they have they had a trigger event. Trigger events are golden times to reach out to offer help and explain how your product or service will make their transition easier.
Be a bloodhound and suss out these common trigger events:
- expansion and additional hiring
- new building
- big regulatory changes or new legislation
- new CEO or VP of Marketing
- new owner
- stock changes (up or down)
- competitor challenges
- analyst opinions change up or down
- funding round
- rapid growth
- new product
- new PR firm
- upcoming industry event
3. Is a prospect asking questions in his social universe? Now, are they questions you can answer? Shorten the selling cycle by nurturing the relationship -- relevantly.
- Share what matters to them -- be generous; be selfless
- Be ready to offer solutions to problems they may not know they have.
- Get them to say “I never thought of it that way.”
In my company’s app -- Nimble.com -- you can set up Saved Searches to comb through industry news, keywords, monitor hashtags, even seek out content by location, or title. Then you’ll be able to start your day with the most useful information, and engage with your most important prospects.
Here are a few Saved Searches that I can click every day right from the Nimble sidebar:
Today’s smart business relationships are an arc, a long-term investment along which sales occur from time to time. Maximize your chances of those sales by understanding how to use social skills to up your odds of success.