Today more than ever, people and spam filters are getting better at filtering out sales messages. And really, who could blame them: many of them are from a desperate salesperson that didn’t take any time understanding your needs. Because of this, one of the biggest questions salespeople should ask themselves is this: how can you build better relationships with prospects, and what strategies eventually turn prospects into loyal customers? Because when it comes down to it, people buy from people – not spam bots.
The answer that successful social sellers know? Focus on fostering a real, organic human connection first before selling.
What does it mean to put Human Connection First?
Putting human connection first means that you emphasize building relationships with the customer first, rather than simply spamming their inbox. We do this by using a “breadcrumbing” method, which is when you send a series of light touches to help your prospect become more familiar with your brand, without giving them enough information to make a final decision (until the first meeting).
We recommend hitting between 7-13 touchpoints with each prospect. In other words, don’t yank someone in, give them rewards for every step they take.
That may sound like a lot, and it does take more time than more traditional outreach methods, but there are benefits to playing the long game. You will find that your relationships with each prospect are deeper, you have more information about them before you get to a call, they have more information about you, and you are creating higher quality relationships.
Why Does It Work?
It works because of a few reasons.
The biggest reason is that you are focusing more on your prospect’s needs up front. People usually don’t want to listen to the sales pitches of complete strangers; however, they do enjoy talking about their own dreams, desires, and aspirations. Assuming you have done a bit of research about your prospect, you should be able to ask a pointed question that will open up a need you can fill.
As soon as they know you can help them fix their problem, “convincing” becomes less necessary.
Another benefit of smaller touches is that it forces your messages to be concise. According to Donald Miller, author of Building a StoryBrand, the simpler your message is, the easier it will be for your prospect to understand and respond (24). He recommends that you try to answer these three questions in as few words as possible:
“What do you offer?”
“How will it make my life better?”
“What do I need to do to buy it?”
What Are Some Tips?
At the end of the day, it’s not about your product; it’s about how you can help them. If you don’t have what they really need, they likely won’t be a good customer. Put the human connection first. Instead of making them mad using tactics and overly-salesy language, it’s important to move onto the next person while still leaving a good impression.
That way, you don’t burn the bridge, in case they end up having a need or finding someone else with that need in the future. Your prospect will be more willing to return to you if they had a positive experience.
Here are a couple tips to help along the way:
First, ask questions that will allow the prospects to talk about their companies and experiences. People love talking about themselves, so if you can give them a key topic, you may just find yourself understanding their needs to a greater extent.
For more information about how to write such a question, we have you covered in our post about conversation starters.
Second, don’t tell them about everything you do. They don’t need all of that information. Imagine you’ve just finished a giant project at work, come home, and someone shows up at the door to talk to you about this thing they want you to buy. How long do you let them talk before you get the urge to shut the door again? My guess is that it doesn’t take long. That’s why sales experts everywhere tell you to get your pitch down to a few sentences.
Finally, some of the conversations will fizzle out naturally, just like any networking scenario. People get distracted, especially online. Try a few of these phrases to re-ignite your old conversations:
“Hey (First name), I saw your recent post….”
“Before we lose contact…”
“I’m sure you’re probably busy at the moment, but…”
What Are The Pros and Cons?
- You will find more quality prospects.
- Leads will be easier to convert when you know that they need your service.
- Prospects that are not interested are more likely to refer others to you.
- You are less likely to be blocked on social media platforms.
- Maintaining a relationship with your customers increases the likelihood that they will continue engaging with your company for longer periods of time.
- More money long term per customer.
- It does take longer.
- You spend more time up front.
- It’s not an exact science
As you read through these lists and formulate your own ideas on how to make this work for your sales campaigns, just know that there’s no situation where effort and reward don’t match up.
Need Some Help?
We know it takes a long time to build these relationships, so why not let us help?
We keep human connection first when writing your scripts, and we’ve helped so many of our clients build lasting relationships.
Schedule a free consultation if this sounds appealing!