The Art of Engaging Your Prospect

Updated: February 22, 2011

So beyond posting a profile on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, how do you actually go about creating a lead generation, customer engagement strategy that quickly helps you achieve your objectives? What steps do you follow to help you pave the way for a smooth connection when the time is right?

This simple five step process will help you organize your approach to engaging with the prospects on your lead list.

  1. Target. In my book, The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, the importance of determining the characteristics of your ideal buyer is discussed. Until you do, you will find it difficult to determine where they congregate online. If you expect to earn a return on your investment, you need to make sure that you are focused on generating leads in the right places AND with the right people. Your mantra is "go narrow/go deep". The more focused you are the faster you get sales traction.

  2. Search. Having clearly identified the attributes of your ideal buyer, you can use tools like LinkedIn's advanced saved search feature to create lead generation lists that are dynamically updated week to week. On Monday morning's, you can look forward to receiving an email from LinkedIn that alerts you to the new people matching your criteria who've now joined your network. Imagine starting the week with a list of potential buyers to pursue.

  3. Research. Now that you had a leads list, you need to organize your list and create a priority focus hierarchy. Use a simple A, B, C mapping approach to determine who gets attention first. Start with your A prospects first and go from there. Spend 10 minutes per person reviewing their individual profiles. What you are looking for are points of commonality; i.e. colleagues in common, alumni groups, non-profit interests, past work history and more. Don't forget to spend time researching the company, as well as the individual to gather real-time data about business initiatives, earnings, etc.

  4. Plan. You've laid the groundwork. Now it is time to reach out, but how will you approach it? The key is to prepare. You may have one shot at getting that yes. Use it wisely! Resist the temptation to make a sales pitch in your phone call or email. Before connecting, ask yourself:
    1. Am I prepared to pursue a conversation?
    2. What do I know about their needs?
    3. Why me and not the competition?
    4. Will I need an introduction from a colleague?
    5. Who do I know that can help me?

  5. Connect. Finally, you reach out to your prospective buyer. Remember to keep the initial contact focused solely on "what's in it for them". This isn't the time for your feature dump. Keep your focus on the goal - giving your prospective buyer a compelling reason to start a conversation with you. Once you make that contact, you can develop a relationship that will open to the door to sales opportunities.

Related Categories
Featured Research
  • Baselining Best Practices

    IT must ensure new applications are rolled out quickly, reliably, and without risk, while at the same time guaranteeing performance and availability. Read this VirtualWisdom white paper to find out how to achieve application-aligned infrastructure performance, and more. more

  • Next Generation End User Experience Management: APM

    In an era of new technologies and cloud-based application delivery models, your business success depends on your ability to ensure optimal application performance and quality user experiences at all times. This complimentary white paper from AppNeta will enlighten you to the new frontiers in end user experience management and much more. more

  • Video: Create an Integrated, Collaborative Microsoft Lync Environment

    Consider HP as your Microsoft Lync Solutions provider! more

  • Optimizing Application Delivery to the Network Edge

    Increasingly, the success of business is being tied to the network. The transformation of the network and IT can help organizations deliver and support highly available applications and services while reacting more quickly to changes in the business environment. In this complimentary white paper from IDC, learn how HP can help its customers and partners improve the overall application experience. more

  • Networking Routers Buyer's Guide for SMB & Enterprise

    This buyer's guide presents an overview of leading products on the market today and aims to improve research for companies needing to purchase or upgrade their equipment. more