Having access to a social network presents you with useful information that can help you connect the dots to find powerful insights. Learn a few methods for making a first connection.
- I read a study the other day that I think you'll find very surprising. It showed that 77% of buyers don't believe that sales reps understand their business well enough, and therefore, they don't think those sales reps can help them. Expectations of sales people are now higher than ever before, and most buyers don't engage with a sales person until they are 60% of the way through their decision. Generic outreach and a standardized pitch are just not going to be effective. You've got to find the key insights that will help you separate yourself from the rest and get your foot in the door.
And if you do this right, you'll be able to identify when the need for your product or service is strongest. Now there are three types of insights that you should be leveraging. The first thing to look for when you're staring at the profile of a potential prospect is shared experiences. Any shared experience can be used to personalize your outreach or strengthen existing relationships. As humans we are naturally drawn to and remember people that are like us, so if you find a shared experience with your prospect, use this to build a connection.
A good example of this happened just the other day. I had a call with a client, and before I called in I did some quick prep work. I noticed that on the LinkedIn profile of one of the executives I was meeting with that she was on the board for the local professional women's organization. That is near and dear to my heart, as I am on the board of a similar organization, New York Women in Communications. So when we were doing our introductions during the meeting, I weaved that into my intro. She immediately jumped in and we kicked off the meeting by connecting the dots on a passion that we both share.
It was a natural way to make contact, and it definitely strengthened our relationship. The first shared experience you should look for is shared connections to ask for an introduction or for permission to at least name-drop them in your outreach. From there, there are so many different kinds of shared experiences to incorporate to personalized or outreach, but a few that are frequently used that you should keep an eye out for are things like having worked at the same company in the past, went to the same school, or shared the same personal or professional interests they express in their social profiles.
Another type of insight that you can use are trigger events. These are time-sensitive changes or updates. One of the biggest deals I ever personally closed was when I was alerted that an existing customer had just changed jobs. I reached out to congratulate her, and she mentioned that her new company was not using our product. Weeks later, we had signed a deal. Because I acted fast on this key insight, it paid off in a big way. Changing jobs is a very important trigger event, as people are really looking to make their mark.
Starting a new job is often when someone invests or reevaluates products or services. But there are many other important trigger events that you can leverage to your advantage, such as when prospects or customers are mentioned in the news, or they're part of a merger or acquisition, or things like product launches or new funding. The third type of insight you can leverage is to effectively read the minds of your prospects. Now don't worry, this is not the point where I talk about ESP or aliens, but what I mean is that looking at what people have recently posted on social media is as close as you're going to get to reading their mind.
If you read what they have shared on LinkedIn or other social networks, you can start to get a sense of what they're thinking about. There might even be some clues to some business challenges you can address. This information will allow you to tailor your interactions with them, whether it's the first time you're reaching out or someone you already have an existing relationship with. There are many clues out there that will help you understand your prospects and their business in a way that will be relevant and impress. To get a sense of where you are in the mastery of this concept, I want you to go to your inbox and pull the first email outreach that you did to a prospect that you never heard back from.
Imagine copying and pasting that exact same email to another prospect. If it's generic enough that you could do that, you're not leveraging insights. But don't get discouraged if that's the case. Get to work and make sure that your next email shows that you truly understand your buyer.
- Crafting a customer-centric profile
- Creating a professional brand that expands your reach
- Identifying your ideal prospects
- Understanding what your buyer values
- Knowing when a prospect is ready to buy
- Engaging with personalized outreach
- Asking for an introduction
- Measuring social selling success