In past articles, we’ve talked about the benefits of getting direct dial numbers for decision makers in order to increase contact ratios. Well, here’s another tip to help boost your contact ratios and avoid gatekeepers:
Contact the decision maker via social media (LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+ specifically).
It may seem like an indirect form of interaction, but if done correctly you can build a relationship through social media that raises you up their trust ladder (read more about the trust ladder in this blog by Ken Krogue, here).
Here’s the process for reaching decision makers through social media.
Step 1: Follow them on THEIR most active social media account.
Why should you use their most active account? Because it’s the one they’re most likely to keep tabs on. Very few inside sales reps and professionals are using social media as a means of building sales relationships, although the amount is increasing as people slowly catch on.
To gain additional sales intelligence about your decision maker, it can also be a good idea to connect with them on other social media platforms (ones they may be less active on) to get a better understanding of things they may be interested in. This can provide some great ice-breaking content to jump start a conversation.
Step 2: Share their content that would be interesting to your network.
This is what social media is about – interacting with and sharing content that you and your followers find interesting. Users appreciate when you take the time to share their thoughts and content and will often return the favor. While this isn’t a formal relationship, it’s a great seed to plant in terms of building a relationship.
Step 3: Start the social interaction.
When you share their content (discussed in Step 2) let them know! By doing this, not only will they see the initial share of their content that you created, but they will also receive a personal message from you saying how much you enjoy their content and that you shared it with your network.
Every time you re-tweet, tweet @, or interact, they get a notification and/or email. For the most part, executives and C-level executives are looking at their twitter feed and interacting. Even if they do have someone in the middle monitoring it for them, this is a much less crowded medium than email.
Step 4: Send them content they would be interested in.
As mentioned before, every time you send an @ message or direct message to the decision maker you’re building a relationship with they receive a notification that you have sent them a message. This encourages real social interaction – a best practice for real social media success.
To help encourage this interaction, send your decision maker content that they would be interested in and that would be useful information for their business and area of expertise. This will go a long way in building trust and building your credibility.
Step 5: Ask a question to engage in conversation.
This is where you really start to build a relationship. For using social media to create business connections – the goal of this whole process – start asking the decision maker you’re connected with questions about their business, their professional challenges, etc. If they seem receptive to having a conversation, suggest that you speak on the phone or over a business lunch, if you’re both local. The goal is to move them from one communication medium to the next to make the relationship more personal.
The odds of actually scheduling a successful meeting are significantly higher using this method than had the interaction been a straight cold call using a traditional dialer technique.
Ken Krogue, President and co-founder of XANT, recently wrote a Forbes article that expounds upon the ideas presented in this blog article with something called “Social Nurturing.” Check out Ken’s article, “Social Nurturing: 7 Keys to Acquire Contacts through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+.”
What success have you had from implementing social media as a tool to reach decision makers and avoid gatekeepers?
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