Okay, so you got this pile of business cards.
Or you have a long list from your boss. Perhaps you are looking at the white pages.
Whatever form your list of prospects takes, you probably need to winnow that list down to the truly viable leads – the more qualified prospects.
Did you know that social media can be the weed wacker you need to cut through all the weeds – and allow you to narrow your focus build a list of the right prospects?
I was having coffee with friend Ron Davis a while back. He’s the one who put this concept of social media as a weed wacker into my head.
Here’s the scenario we talked about:
You identify a new prospect. You begin calling this person in the hopes that you can secure an audience to talk about your product or service.
You keep calling this prospect. Again and again. Finally, the prospect agrees to see you. Why? Who knows? You really haven’t spoken with this person yet.
So, you get in the car, drive half way across the state to visit with this prospect. After waiting for 30 minutes past the appointment time and after drinking a cup of lukewarm coffee made hours earlier, you finally get to sit down with your prospect.
And within seconds, you know he has ZERO interest in what you have to offer. You think to yourself, this guy took the meeting just to get me to stop calling…
Happens every day. It has happened to me. It has probably happened to you. How do you make it stop?
Bring out the weed wacker!
What if you could engage these same prospects through social media? Either by following them on Twitter, friending them on Facebook, following their blog, or connecting with them on LinkedIn?
Think of all the information you could gather by following them on these tools. Just by observing them, you could gain insights into their business, learn about their struggles, and through these observations – begin to see how you can position your product or service.
And taking it a step further, if you engage in actual e-dialog with this prospect, you begin to establish a relationship. You begin to discuss and debate potential solutions and ideas on how that prospect could improve their business.
In this exchange, you aren’t selling your solution. You are being helpful and giving value. And over time, this prospect comes to trust you.
What will result from this exchange is the understanding that the two of you should meet. And when that meeting finally takes place, there is no awkwardness. A rapport is already developed. A trust is implicit. You can get right to the point and see if there is benefit from a more formal relationship between the two organizations.
Or as a result of your social media interaction, you will learn that this prospect isn’t a qualified prospect for you, someone who you cannot serve. Or more to the point, someone who just isn’t interested in what you have to offer. This saves you that long road trip, wasted time in the waiting room, and that bad coffee.
Social media can act as a weed wacker to remove the weeds from your garden. It can help shed light on the good prospects, the people who come to see value in what you do, and who you can serve and help.
This takes too much time, you might ask? So does wasting the day driving to and visiting with a prospect who has no interest in what you sell.
Social media, and all the tools of Web 2.0, are designed to foster better communication, stronger relationships, and two-way conversation. Use the tools as they are designed to help you weed out the bad prospects from your list.
[As originally written for GrowthANSWERS‘ eMerge! e-newsletter]