The Need for Better Online Conversation
We live in a world of expedited conversation. Never has it been easier or more convenient to communicate with leads and prospects online– and it's becoming more integrated every day.
Now that business conversations can happen instantly, though, some unforeseen challenges have arisen, particularly on social media.
An issue with online platforms is the mass amount of conversation happening all at once. Contacting leads and prospects is so accessible that everyone is doing it; but not everyone is doing business conversations well.
The result: quantity, not quality, dominates online conversation.
Not all online conversations are beneficial conversations. Anyone who has looked at their LinkedIn inbox understands this. Which means more: a dozen spammy sales pitches in your inbox, or one personalized message from a connection that engages your interests, not their own?
Of course, the personalized message wins every time. Still, some unruly sales reps copy and paste their pitch into every direct message box they can find.
How this outdated "cold call" method made its way on social media, we're not sure. But we do have some ideas on how to have better online conversations, and, as a result, better business relationships.
Learn about the Lead
This seems like common sense, but plenty of businesses decide to contact first, learn later. This backwards approach wastes the time of all parties involved.
Let's put some numbers on it: Smallbizgenius says that 78% of sales representatives who use social media report that researching prospects on social networks helps them perform better on the job.
The bottom line is that researching the lead is crucial in having beneficial conversations online. That means researching their professional interests, their role at the company, their needs, and the market they serve.
This can be a time-consuming task, and one that many businesspeople might not have time for.
One way to reduce lead research time and resources is by using Soundboard's Google Chrome extension. Once installed, the extension scans a lead's LinkedIn or Facebook profile for their interests, then suggests articles for you to share based on their own social media content.
Not only that, it gives suggested messages of what to say with the article. If you'd rather choose your own article that best suits your lead, then you can search thousands of articles in our database as well.
To learn more about the extension and getting a 14 day free trial, click here.
Whether you use Soundboard or not, learning about your lead is essential to structuring how you reach out to them.
Gain Industry Intelligence
Industry knowledge is a quick conduit to productive online interactions. Creating a solid connection with a potential client means understanding the industry they specialize in, and shaping the conversation around that topic.
One tangible way to accomplish this is through becoming an authority on the topic, or simply providing valuable information in the lead's area of interest.
Say you're going after a decision maker at a telehealth company. Sending a message with terminology in-line with current telehealth trends will interest the lead more than a generic greeting.
By addressing their professional interests, you can get your foot in the door. From there, your conversation can gradually shift to how your services can help them achieve their industry goals. You have to earn the pitch, though.
The best way to impress leads online is through understanding the industry you're selling to, and joining the conversation through social media posts and direct messages to industry players.
This all sounds great! So why don't businesses take this approach more often?
Because analyzing the conversation in every single industry is tedious and time consuming, especially when you have multiple leads in various industries.
You can do industry research manually, or you can use Soundboard's Conversation Trends, which analyze major industries for you. Using AI, Conversation Trends is able to generate the top 60 trending phrases in almost every business category.
Through several interfaces, you can be informed at the state of the conversation in minutes. With Conversation Trends, Soundboard also produces curated articles for you to share, so you can join in the trending conversation as well.
Imagine you lead scrolling through their LinkedIn feed and seeing an article relevant to their industry with you name beside it. That's ten times more valuable than a cold message, or in some cases, even posting your own content.
This way, you build trust between you and the lead. A prospect is way more likely to convert to a customer if they think you have a vested interest in their industry.
For a free trial of Conversation Trends, click here and select the Pro Plan.
Don't Be a Robot
Just because the conversation is happening via the internet, that doesn't mean you have to act like a robot.
Automating parts of the customer acquisition process is beneficial for sales teams; it saves time, money, and valuable resources, to the betterment of the company.
But conversation, while it can be supported by machine learning systems, should not replace real human interactions.
Studies have shown that while AI is growing, in many industries consumers prefer a human touch. So, you need to know your industry to know just how much human interaction is expected by consumers.
Adding your personality (professionally) will give the conversation color– and make the lead or customer feel like they're in a human interaction, not just a business transaction.
For more on this subject, read Saleshacker's article on selling like a human.
Businesses have to be diligent about how they conduct conversations online. Though it's never been more accessible, reaching out to leads has to strategic, informed, and authentic.