5 Tips For Prospect Engagement

These are five important tips for prospect engagement that will improve attracting your target audience, forge trusting relationships with them and make it more likely that they will buy from you.

All buyers look for outcomes and your prospects have important decisions to make before they buy. These decisions are dependent on the solutions you can offer for their business problems, how familiar and comfortable they are with your company, how much trust and confidence they have in you, and whether or not having a business relationship will be beneficial.

Therefore, your prospect engagement efforts should always be geared towards creating these outcomes, because establishing this type of relationship will inevitably lead to more sales.

Tip 1) Reach Out to Quality Prospects

Sure, it’s handy when someone clicks on one of the blog posts or pulse article you wrote, revealing interest and establishing themselves as a potential customer. One that needs to be nurtured. But sometimes you might be so lucky. Sometimes you could be waiting around a while before someone shows interest in your company.

Don’t forget that an old-fashioned introduction still goes a long way toward establishing prospect relationships, and this includes reaching out on social media to someone you don’t yet know. But if you’re going to reach out to someone, make sure that they are a quality lead. Because lead nurturing isn’t easy. It involves a lot of work to establish trust and engage with them consistently over a long period of time. So don’t waste your time introducing yourself to just about anyone. You also need to understand their company’s business needs, as well as their personal goals. The most effective and efficient way to find quality prospects is by investing in automated lead generation services. This way, lead generation experts can source your most relevant prospects and keep your sales pipeline full.

Once you’ve collected all that information, you’ll be able to forge strong, authentic connections that go a lot further than the cold, hard sales pitches of yesteryear.

Tip 2) Give Them the Answers to Their Problems

Let’s face it, not many people are interested in hearing about office technology, document solutions, or network services. What your potential customers really care about is their own business. They don’t want to listen to product pitches. They want to hear solutions to their pains and problems. They need answers to their questions.

Focusing on the prospect’s business issues is crucial to solution selling. And today, it is also crucial to online marketing. Darrell Amy, from ProspectBuilder.net, believes “You are an empty shirt in the solutions business until you understand your clients’ business problems.”

You can develop a better understanding of buyers/customers desires by reading through relevant industry websites and LinkedIn group conversations. With this information, it is much easier to know exactly what content your prospects are interested to read, allowing you to tailor your content accordingly.

Make it meaningful. If a prospect expressed a certain difficulty their business faced in a LinkedIn conversation, try delivering helpful content to them through an email. Ideally you want to make it as personal as possible, so include a simple message that helps the prospect understand the topic and why you think it is important for them to read.

Tip 3) Leverage Social Media to Stay Top-Of-Mind

More and more, getting to know your target audience and establishing relationships with them is an essential part of today’s sales process. And it turns out that social media can help you achieve this quickly and easily.

In order to solve problems for potential clients, leveraging social media is a must. “Social media allows salespeople to see what prospects are saying about their brand and competitors,” says Janet Fouts, a social media coach and chief executive of Tatu Digital Media, an online marketing agency. “You can really get to know his or her needs through social listening. It’s a great way to research a market and initiate conversation leading to a sale.”

Colleen Francis (president of Engage Selling) claims that she has witnessed sales people pursue leads through social media and end up closing deals between $30,000 and $250,000.

LinkedIn is the most appropriate networking site for sales of business-to-business products or services, Francis says. “LinkedIn is a more professional networking environment, so this is the right place to connect with people at big corporations that might be interested in your product or service.” So this is the place to join groups, participate in conversations, like and share prospects posts, and share interesting and helpful content.

Twitter can be used for all kinds of sales, Francis says. “But the number one use should be listening, not broadcasting. Use what you hear as leverage to pick up the phone and call. Listen for problems that can be solved.”

Tip 4) Become a Thought Leader through Educational Content

Filling the role as a thought leader and trusted advisor, you’ll serve the role of both information library and subject matter expert. As you expand your own repertoire of knowledge, think of new and interesting ways to share that knowledge with your target audience.

“Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.” This Nelson Mandela quote reigns true in most contexts, as well as in the business world. I believe that the brands that prioritize educating their target audience through the creation of insightful content are wisely choosing the road less traveled.

As already mentioned, customers don’t particularly care about the products or services we’re offering; they care about their own interests. Considering this, we must also accept that the majority of the information we produce for marketing purposes cannot be about ourselves. Our content must be based on fulfilling our customers’ needs and interests, so that they come to build a trusted and emotional connection with our brands.

Content doesn’t always have to come in the form of text. Images are content. Infographics are content. So are videos. And slide shows. And downloads. In fact, the use of imagery and video is more likely to reach and engage a much greater audience. People love visual — they are attracted by content in the form of infographics, relatable photos and data. You know the old saying — “a picture is worth a thousand words”.

Just remember this — the more you educate or entertain your prospect, the more they don’t mind being sold to.

Tip 5) Consider your Relationship Long-Term

It’s easy to approach a sale with a short-term goal, that being making a sale. But it’s time to start looking at it a little differently. Nurturing your leads should be an essential part of your selling strategy that should not be ignored. Not only do you want your prospects to buy, but you want them to come back for more.

So let’s say that you’ve just made a sale. Your work shouldn’t end here. Continue to nurture this lead. Maintain that trusting relationship you’ve worked so hard to establish in the first place. This will benefit you with extended financial rewards.

Did you know that it costs five times as much to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one? No? That’s ok, you’re not alone. 44% of companies place greater focus and energy into acquiring new customers, while only 18% prioritize retaining customers who have already bought from them. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60–70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5–20%. This should prove that the first rule of any business is to retain customers and build a loyal relationship with them.

Abandoning a conversation after getting what you want is running the risk of ruining good relationships. So thinking of every prospect relationship as long term and you could well be on your way to earning some customer advocates. These are the valued people who are likely to recommend you to their own communities. You know, the type of word-of-mouth social selling that’s gone on since day one.

So there’s 5 important tips for engaging with your prospects. Implementing these tips and strategies will help your sales and marketing team move prospects through the sales funnel and keep them coming back for more.

Originally published at blog.connectorsmarketplace.com on March 21, 2016.