5 Steps to Building a Relationship with a Prospect Online | Sandler Training Skip to main content

Potential buyers of your product or service – like the rest of us – spend a lot of their time online. This gives rise to a question: What are the best ways to engage with them when a voice to voice or a face to face conversation isn’t a possibility? Here are five simple, effective steps you can follow.

1. Listen First. Everyone uses social media to get attention. A great way to stand out from your competitors is simply to be the one who listens. Remember, no one cares about what you do … until they know what’s in it for them and know that that you care about their interests. (A side note: you can use the tool Crystal to identify someone’s DISC profile … and get a better sense of how they like to be communicated with, online and off.)

2. Identify Trigger Events & Pains. Pay attention to what people are promoting and what they are struggling with. How do those match up to the problem you solve? Look for job changes, product launches, or other marketing announcements that might be related to your product or service.

3. Get Their Attention. Like, comment on, and share their posts. (Who doesn’t notice that?)

Other great ways to get someone’s attention include asking a common connection for an introduction by meeting, phone or email – and reaching out with a cold email, phone call, or social media message about a relevant trigger event.

4. Start the Conversation. Use short subject lines. Write like a human, not like a marketing or sales robot. Introduce yourself and your company with the reason you are reaching out.

Share three or four problems you solve for people like them – without claiming, directly or indirectly that you can solve their problem. Briefly share how you solve those problems better or differently than your competition. Then make a very small “ask” to see if they are interested. Don’t ask for a sale, just for a “yes” or “no” on their interest in a future conversation.

5. Follow Up. It may take up to six attempts over a month or so to actually generate a response or a conversation, so make a plan to follow up patiently, with multiple “touches,” over a sustained period. Alternate your communication methods between social, email, phone, and text. Start with a small amount of information (see Step 4 above) and increase the detail and length of your message each time. Never give the prospect so much information that they can pre-judge your solution. Use gatekeeper and voicemails to your advantage. Engage with them and leave relevant reasons to respond.

By following these five simple steps, you can turn more of your online connections into prospects … and more of your prospects into customers!

Once you’ve closed the deal, here are some bonding and rapport tips to utilize with current customers.

Power through the summer sales slump

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