A new year means a new start. You’re looking for new prospects, new business and new deals. Everyone starts a new year with the best of intentions to make this year the best one yet. On a professional level, we want this year to be our most profitable and there will be a lot of people (some your prospects) that are looking for ways to make this a reality.
Could your product or service make their New Year hopes and dreams come true? The prospects are out there, you just need to find them. That is exactly where social media can be your knight in shining armor. Not limited solely to mundane tweets about what I had for dinner last night or that my aunt’s neighbor’s dog is called Jack, social media tools could help you to prospect more effectively.
Don’t wait for prospects to fall at your feet
It’s highly unlikely that this will happen regularly. If you are lucky enough, that’s great, but prospecting takes time (and yes, effort) to find, research and qualify into a valuable lead. But as a starting point, you’ve got to get out there and use the tools at your disposal: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, personal blogs and many more are out there. Being proactive is a no brainer in any aspect of your professional life, but particularly important in the world of social media. It moves quickly and if you don’t keep up, you will get lost in the masses and prospects will wander off to your competitors.
Qualify leads before you’ve even spoken to them
Social media is made for sharing and you can find out a lot about someone simply by taking 5 minutes to have a look at his or her social profiles. For professional information about a prospect’s position, industry or company, LinkedIn is a veritable goldmine. But dig deeper into the Twittersphere and you’ll find where people (and your customers) vent about any problems they’re having with current products or services, if they are looking for something or having a problem. This does not have to be the moment where you start your sales pitch, but a chance to offer advice, insight and be helpful. They’ll love you for it and you can start to build your prospect base from there.
Keywords are king
Every social media outlet has a search function. If you sell organic fruit and vegetables, you can hunt down prospects simply by searching “healthy eating” or “local produce”. I can promise that a fair amount of the search results will be prospective customers for you who may be ready to buy today. Getting there first and becoming front of mind before your competitors will always work in your favor.
Stop, look and listen
Social media isn’t all about shouting your name and proposition from the rooftops, but it is your opportunity to take a minute to actually listen to your target market. What are their concerns, what do they value, what are they looking for and (more importantly) what do they think of your competitors? You’ll notice that people are far more likely to complain about a product or service on social media than they are to commend good service or a great product. So, as long as they aren’t grumbling about your offering, this is your opportunity to uncover what your competitors may have done wrong, step in as the superhero and remedy your prospect’s woes.
Online selling isn’t difficult
And when it is done right, it is so much more elegant than traditional selling techniques. How many sales calls do you think your prospect has had before you picked up the phone? It gets tedious, we all know that. Social media channels allow you to freshen your approach up, you never know, it might be a welcome change in an otherwise mundane morning for your prospect. Once you have a warm prospect, you can move your online relationship to an offline one, either on the phone or in person. All you need is a bit of patience and your social relationships today will often flourish into the sales of tomorrow.