“Good things come to those who wait is bull—good things come to those who initiate.”
Social Prospecting Technique:
I use and connect through all available modes of communication, such as social networks like Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook. My goal is to use social media to connect online, solidify the communication with a DM or email, and schedule a face-to-face chat for coffee, but I will settle for a Skype conversation or a phone call. In my opinion, bringing online, offline is the key to building lifelong relationships. (*Advisors can also leverage their existing offline relationships they have with clients in their practice, bringing new life into the relationship by using online means to build out those relationships with their clients’ family and friends.).
Depending on the success rate of the proactive medium, I adjust accordingly. I like to start with Linkedin by narrowing my search through “keywords,” then filter down by geographic region. (You can also search keywords and geography on Twitter and Facebook.) For example, if I am looking for people involved in financial services and social or digital media, I search for “financial and digital,” or “financial and social.” If my goal is to set up a face-to-face meeting, I then narrow it down to Boston, Connecticut, or New York. To put some tangible numbers to this, I have found that fifty Linkedin messages will result in 3 – 5 face to face meetings, or at the very least, 5 – 8 phone conversations. I prefer to meet people in person. Follow up is crucial. If you don’t keep track of who you have contacted and who has connected back with a response, who has connected and hasn’t responded, you will get lost and see dismal results. After my first message wave, I track who responded and who didn’t respond and place those messages in appropriately labeled folders, such as “Sent Email,” “Sent Invite,” “Answered Email,” “Meeting,” etc., so I can follow up with a second wave of messages.
We’re not Recreating the Phonebook:
I am not trying to recreate the phonebook online. I don’t want meaningless connections in my Linkedin network, or any network for that matter (except Twitter); I want my network to be strong and powerful. A tip I learned from Keith Ferazzi, is to label your people in your online rolodex with a one, two or a three. One’s are people who you want to build a relationship with but, you haven’t yet. Two’s could be for people you have built a relationship with, and threes are people who you haven’t had time to pursue, but you’d like to at some point. You need to come up with a system that works for you.
Strengthening the Odds:
Before I send my invitation to connect, I do a very brief search of their online history to discover a commonality we may share. If they have their own website, I can compliment them on it. If they commented on a blog or Facebook post, I will also go and comment on it. The connection clues are everywhere. Talk about them and their interests to start the conversation. They are online for a reason—figure out that reason and help them accomplish what they are trying to accomplish, and you will forever be connected.
If I am really interested in the prospect above the others on the search list, I also send a Twitter message and look at their Linkedin message (I may expand this to Facebook, Pinterest and other networks). I find the cross-platform method increases my contact rate by 50% when employing this powerful strategy.
Twitter message response from a Linkedin, Twitter combo:
Newly discovered friend admiring the cross-platform strategy:
Proactive Twitter reach-out based on my online profile and presence:
Twitter, Linkedin combo message response after connecting for a follow-up phone call:
Social Identity Presence:
I feel that the better your social presence (or identity) is on the web, the more credibility you have. I spend my time developing my presence by writing frequently on my blog, via informational webinars, my Facebook business page, Twitter tweets, my Linkedin profile, and my Linkedin group/answer presence through posting and commenting. The more social proof I have, the more apt the person is to talk to me. They may know they are being targets if they are smart, but the subtle way I do it makes them feel important. I discover what they are doing, what their challenges and struggles are, and then I am able to form a basis for my value proposition when they ask me what I do. What a coincidence—I work with many companies that were in your same exact situation, and I helped them leverage social technology to… you get the idea.
As I told you before, my main goal is to have people come directly to me for solutions to their problems. This is my utopia. This is like for many salesmen and women who have a prospect purchase their solution without even seeing a demo. A recent prospect, who came to me via a Linkedin group message response that wasn’t even directed to him, I didn’t even know he existed. He found me through search and read my profile. My profile provided enough clues about a solution to prompt a meeting. Everyone is watching and looking to Social for a solution to their fulfill their needs and solve their problems.
Follow-up meeting with the gentleman he is consulting for:
In conclusion, social networking allows me to leverage my message and get myself out there. What I do with the new opportunities is totally up to me and my tenacity to stay organized and follow up!
Please share your Social prospecting stories with the Recommended Advisor Community!