Not every piece of business needs to be dry and boring. There are some points in sales and marketing that can prove quite entertaining. Social media offers tools to position you into the favor of almost any client or lead.
When I target someone (before our meeting), I look them up to see what is exposed. If there is a reference to a certain part of the world or a favorite activity, I add the topic to our conversation to see if they will personally connect. Assumed similarities breeds trust. I have an app connected to my contact CRM that automatically searches multiple social networks based on any one piece of contact information. I can see what trips they recently returned from, how they describe themselves on their website profiles, and many times their family pictures with personal information. I will know if they’re a new parent or if their kids just went off to college. Every piece of information helps me know how to connect more effectively.
It is vital to raise a caution flag here. There is a risk of not being yourself. Please don’t be a chameleon – that steps into the creepy realm. People in our culture have a healthy skepticism of social media and the web without you pretending you’re in the movie Single White Female. Be yourself while cultivating awareness of who they are, and engage them in the areas that are of most interest to them. This isn’t personal, it’s business; however, business is much simpler when you connect on a personal level.
You have something in common with everyone—just find it. Three minutes of upfront research on a prospect can let you know what college they went, past employers, or volunteer positions. If someone graduated from the University of Georgia, they spent years with a bulldog as a mascot. Using the phrase “as tenacious as a bulldog” will most likely resonate – especially if it’s in reference to their business practice. If you want to dive a little deeper, you can look up facts hidden on the web that relate to that particular entity. This can be as simple as recognizing that it’s in Savannah. If you’ve ever been to Savannah, you could reference a story from your trip and relates to the deal being discussed… which will allow them to give their opinion on the city… which will allow you to engage them on a personal level. If you’re lucky they’ll admit that they went to school there and allow you to have a personal “friend to friend” conversation about college, or Savannah, or anything; building trust before going through the deal.