“Stalking” has such a bad vibe to it, doesn’t it? What are some other terms that we can use in place of stalking? How about researching? Prospecting? Engaging? Influencing? Yes, these will do!
If almost 70% of the buying process is already complete by the time you speak with your prospect, wouldn’t it make sense if you were influencing that 70% by researching your prospect, engaging in what matters to them, and positively influencing the buying decision… if you’re not sure, the answer is a resounding yes. I think at this point we have all heard that the buying process has changed. If that’s the case, then the selling process must evolve, correct? I mean, do you want to sell or do you want to influence? I choose influence.
Here’s one of many effective processes to implement in order to stalk/research/prospect/engage/influence your prospect by leveraging LinkedIn.
- Make a list of your top 20 prospects, including the title of the person or the name of the person you are targeting.
- Connect with your prospect on LinkedIn. No generic messages please! A best practice is to send the connection request as soon as you have your prospect on your calendar for the meeting. If you are still working on the meeting, get an introduction, or send a warm message based on similarities in their profile and yours, such as work experience, alumni, common connections, organizations, volunteer work, etc. Research your prospect. All of the information is right at your fingertips.
- Consider joining LinkedIn groups that your prospects are in, and will also benefit you in the long run. If their groups are only beneficial to you because they are members of said groups, then join them to engage with those specific prospects, and leave the groups once you have established a relationship.
Now that you are connected, and networking in the same LinkedIn Groups with your prospects, it’s time to stalk!
- View their recent activity
Remember that list of 20 prospects that you are now connected to on LinkedIn? A best practice is to schedule 20 minutes per day to focus on 2 of the prospects, at 10 minutes each, allowing you 20 prospects per week. Focus on these 20 for as long as it takes (hint – it will most likely take more than a week or 2 – be realistic about results. You’re building trust here.) As they funnel through your sales process, fold in more prospects – it should be like a revolving door.
Step 1: Go to their profile, hover over the dropdown, and click ‘View Recent Activity”.
Step 2: Engage in their content once per week. Like, comment, share. Become visible to them. Pull other people into the conversation. Start a conversation on topics that are important to them. The intention is that they will view your profile, and so the relationship begins. It’s up to you to develop that relationship. Touch them once per week via LinkedIn, and fold in your face-to-face, phone call, emails, etc. If they have published posts, then definitely engage there. They spent time writing and want engagement. Give the people what they want!!!
2. Join the LinkedIn Groups that they participate in, and focus on those groups as part of your daily activity. Get as much “face time” as you can. Provide thought leadership and offer assistance where you can. Become a resource, and eventually a trusted advisor.
Being referred in by someone that they already know, love, and trust will give you the optimal result you are seeking. This type of warm lead generation has proven to result in an average of 60% conversion from prospect to client. Just sayin’.
- The modern day ‘thank you’ note
Old school etiquette – the thank you note. Some of you may still do this, some of you may never have done this. But many business development professionals send a little something after a meeting with a prospect… hand written note, box of goodies, etc.
Let’s modernize this. Keep an ongoing list of the most FAQs that come up during prospecting meetings. Answer these questions as individual topics on your Publisher. Then use the share buttons right from the published post and send them directly to your prospects’ inboxes, as an answer to a problem they discussed with you in your meeting. You will quickly develop a library of content that you can send to prospects on a regular basis.
The result? A mutually beneficial relationship where you helped guide your decision maker through the buying process by getting to know them and their needs. You may find that they are not in need of your products or services, but can become a COI or referral partner for you. You can never have enough connectors or champions in your network.
I know. Mind. Blown. Give it a shot, but please give it a good shot. Work this process for at least 6-8 weeks with your first 20 prospects. Then leverage LinkedIn to stay in front of them with content and thought leadership from your Publisher, to your home page, to your groups…. the opportunity is there. If they are not ready to commit right now, staying in front of them will help them decide on you when they are ready to commit.
- Be the first to give to your new business relationships
- Always pay it forward
- Network with purpose.
Good luck and good networking! Remember… It’s All About Leverage.
Contact Bobbie for more information on Social Selling training. Best practices will only get you so far! It’s time to implement a process that provides results! Don’t forget to check out our website for our suite of services!