Have you ever received a friend or connection request from a prospect and thought to yourself; do I really need to accept this?
One of the first challenges I received setting out as an entrepreneur immediately after campus was about having personal relationships with my clients and prospects. In fact we used to joke about it with my first business partner (Julius) and workmates using the phrase ‘how far can you go to get a person to buy from you?’
I do not know much about you but one thing I am sure about is that as an entrepreneur, marketer or employee or all the three like I am you have asked yourself at least once before if you should be friends with your workmates or employees, prospects and or customers on social media!
In this article I want to address just part of that; why small business owners, b2b marketers and salesmen should to be friends with their prospects and customers on Facebook, LinkedIn and other popular social networks, depending on their service or product category and country.
First, a word of caution; if you use social media to generate leads, you obviously can’t avoid being friends (or connected) even before talking business but if your lead generation starts with cold meetings or other kind of engagements say at conferences, you got to be a bit cautious about sending friend requests to people you haven’t met. A little patience might do you wonders.
3 reasons why you should friend your prospects and customers on social media
1. Collect Valuable personal information about the prospect.
It has been said and repeated time and again that people do not buy what they need, they buy what they want but pockets of b2b marketers have a claim that in b2b purchasing decisions anything short of rational is a punch below the belt; there is no proof.
The point is that be it in consumer marketing and sales or b2b marketing and sales, customers are still people and people have likes, dislikes and emotions. Companies do not have hearts to feel and eyes to see but the people that run companies each do.
If you successfully connect with your prospect on Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn or any platform of your choice, you will be able to know what excites them not only about business but life in general.
Such data can go so far in informing your outreaches, content marketing and empowering you to bargain better in the next meetings and might just be the reason you get contracted.
2. Subscribe to trigger-events; know when to make follow-up or reach out
In a world that is so busy it is undoubtedly costly to make ‘follow ups’ and if you do it wrong the first time, you might never get a second chance.
In fact, surveys have shown that one of the reasons most traditional salespeople fail at their jobs is because they stop making follow-ups after just a one or two unsuccessful attempts. Here comes a life-saver; social media.
When you are friends with your customer on Facebook or any such medium you get the rare opportunity to know when it is the right time to make a follow up. One example is of insurance sales agents; if a prospect for general insurance acquires a new property or start-up, he or she will definitely come to Facebook to share the good news.
In states and countries where there is no compulsory insurance policy even a car purchase and a blessing of a new baby are great triggers restarting the conversation about insurance. B2C and B2B are now both covered, right?
3. Lay fertile ground for lead nurturing
My experience dealing with social media leads is that majority are at or have just passed the awareness stage of their buying journey. I still therefore have to complete the job of helping them get to the stage where my business will actually get a dollar - decision.
Social media friendship provides a great opportunity to share great content with prospects; you can even do it indirectly by posting not in their inbox or tagging them but by posting in your timeline because unless your friendship is so loose, you can be sure your posts will show up in their news-feed at least once in a day..
Let’s close this off-the-record; which of the above three would be bad for your business, all?