Step No. 3: Connect
Friend, follow or connect with individuals with profiles that match your clients’. How do you do this? Conduct a search on each social networking website or use a resource to find people who are talking about your industry or using related keywords. Then comment on their posts, re-tweet them, answer a question or share something they say. By contributing to their conversation, you add value to their network. Then it becomes natural for you to follow them and for them to follow you back. Once you connect, don’t immediately bombard them with pitches. Instead, read their profiles, get to know them and identify their needs.
Step No. 4: Build relationships
The most important thing salespeople need to know is that they need to develop relationships more than they need to develop leads, because good relationships will turn into leads. People share a lot of information, and if you monitor and listen to what they are saying, you will eventually be able to engage in a meaningful conversation with them. Once you develop a relationship, you can tell the prospect how your product or service might be something they want or need.
Step No. 5: Engage in a conversation
If you just write them a message with a pitch and a link to your website, they will be uninterested. If you say, ‘Here are some solutions to your problem, maybe my product or service can help,’ they will know you care about them. If you really listen to what they are saying on social media, you can open doors and start a conversation without having to make a cold call. Other ways to do this: Create a Facebook group related to your product or service and invite prospects to join. Then, send targeted messages to members who are active within the group. Join the groups that your clients are members of on LinkedIn, as well. Engage in conversation there by answering questions that are asked and showcasing your expertise at problem solving in a specific area.
Twitter also offers opportunities to initiate dialogues. Although Twitter should be used as a listening tool, you can still engage in a conversation on the site. Listen to your prospects’ tweets and use them as trigger points to start a conversation on a business development call. Look for trends in their tweets. Are they launching new products? Buying new companies? Expanding to a new market? If any of those announcements could be a trigger for something you sell, call your prospect and mention that you saw the tweet. Ask them how it’s affecting their business and see if they would be interested in starting a conversation about how you can help.
If you share good content with your social networks, it can spread easily, increasing your visibility with new leads. A salesperson can also give better service when paying attention to customers online. And that can result in loyal customers for life.
Culled and adapted from Forbes.