How to use Twitter to gain potential clients

Hard sales in social media doesn’t work

First off – and quite unsurprising if you work in sales – the “LOOK AT ME, BUY MY THINGS” hard sales approach to social media is not very effective. If that is what you are using Twitter for, then no wonder you are having a bad time.

The way I think of it is this: what would you say to someone you’d just met in a coffee shop? It is not going to be something salesy. It is about starting a conversation, listening and understanding what gets that person going.

Social media to increase prospects / sales funnel

I recommend using Twitter as a business intelligence tool. Monitor what people are saying about your industry. By using tools like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, you can monitor several searches, lists and streams.

You can then use this data and integrate it into your formal sales process increasing conversions later.

Watch out for buying signals, indicators people may be ready in the future and typical problems your customers face.

Buying signals

There will often be tweets of people looking for someone to provide a certain service, or recommend a company that can provide a specific service. Why not set up searches to monitor for those terms up front and reply when appropriate?

Tweets with negative mentions of your competitors might be an easy way for you to attract leads into the top of your sales funnel. What can you offer those people in a responsive manner?

Indicators they might be coming into your market

If someone is tweeting about picking baby names, you know in a couple of months they will be looking for prams, baby seats etc.

Think upstream of your business. What behaviors and patterns come before prospects are ready to look for your products or services?

Typical problems your customers face

Your customers will often have many of the same kinds of questions. Why not write content which answers them, and then use that as a lead generation tool by helping other people across social media?

Things to do now

  • Log into Hootsuite or Tweetdeck and set up columns to listen to what people are saying on Twitter;
  • Set up searches for people looking to buy your specific product or service;
  • “looking for [type of work here]”
  • “recommend [type of work here]”
  • Set up searches on Twitter for common questions (hopefully you’ve already created content to answer those to send them as links)
  • Set up searches for negative mentions of competitors; and
  • Set up searches for problems customers face upstream of your sales cycle

Using social media to increase conversions

Maybe you have a telesales team who have passed you some leads. Spending ten minutes researching the person you are going to have a meeting with will help you understand more about that person and what keeps them up at night.

Look at your prospects’ social media accounts – who are they? what can you learn about them?

Can you help build rapport? Can you increase the receptiveness of that person by favouriting their tweets? Can you have meaningful or fun conversations prior to meeting them?

Things you should do now:

  • Create private Twitter lists of your prospects;
  • Look up prospects in social media before your meetings;
  • Talk to prospects before your meetings on Twitter or LinkedIn if appropriate; and
  • Read the articles they are sharing so you have more discussion points (and perhaps favourite or like those statuses)
But with all that said…you can do “hard sales” in social media. Here is an example that I love of someone turning the expected business model of a market on its head by using social media.

Charlie Southwell is head of digital for Flagship Consulting.

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