But how can you engage before you dial that number? How can you ensure that someone will pick up the phone to talk to you?
Everybody Loves Being Social
You might be surprised that social media is one channel you can use to warm up that lead and make people more receptive to your call or email. After all, 75% of consumers are using social media as part of the buying process, so it makes sense to begin your sales efforts there, too.
Consumers use social media to:
- Find out about brands they’re considering (from other users, as well as the brands’ streams)
- Read relevant content
- Get advice on purchase decisions
Even if you don’t plan to close the sale on social media, it’s a fantastic place to start to connect with prospects.
First, Identify Your Prospects
Start with the prospects you already have in your funnel, such as the people who have signed up to download your ebook or otherwise sent you an inquiry.
Because you already know these people are interested in what you have to offer, you’re already halfway to success. Many customer relationship management (CRM) platforms will automatically look for the social media profiles connected with a person’s name and/or email address, so if you start by following those accounts, you can monitor what they’re saying.
Social media takes a keen ear, and so does selling. If you pay attention to what your contacts are saying, you will have plenty of ammunition for that cold call. Take notes on personal updates in your CRM files (“Sally just celebrated her 50th birthday”), so you can come back to those details when you make the call.
Look for opportunity. Not everyone will blatantly say they’re looking for what you sell on social media, but sometimes there are clues. For example, if you see a Facebook update where someone talks about launching a new business, you know they will soon need SEO services. Target!
Interact in a Non-Invasive Way
Now you want to get on your prospects’ radars. That doesn’t mean tweeting a self-promoting: “@moneybags you should check out our products. They’re great. Click here: [website].”
Instead, nudge your contacts in one or more of these ways:
- Share their content
- Retweet their updates
- Comment on an update to engage dialogue
- Like their shares
These seem like tiny actions, but many people will take note when you do them. Remember: the key here is not to sell, but rather to forge relationships and pave the way for getting your call picked up.
Now for That Call
After spending some time interacting with your contact list on social media, get those dialing fingers ready. Rather than trying to say who you are and what you do in one breath before the person you’re calling hangs up, you have an in:
“Hey, Robert. It’s Gregg Schwartz. We were talking on Twitter the other day about Thursday’s game. Listen, I wondered if you had a minute.”
Robert may be taken surprised that someone from the virtual world of Twitter is reaching out in real time, but that moment’s hesitation is enough to get your foot in the door. He at least has an inkling who you are (and if you’re rooting for the same team, so much the better), so he’s more likely to want to hear what you have to say over the next cold-calling sales guy he gets a call from.
Social media is a great way to follow up and stay in touch after that sales call. With the daunting statistic that only 2% of cold calls turn into appointments, you don’t have to give up on a lead if the call didn’t land in that tiny percent. Instead, stay in touch via social media and be there when your prospect is ready to make a move.