So you’ve heard back from a follower on a social site like LinkedIn or Twitter. Great! They’ve been watching your posts and want to know more about what you do. Now, you’ve got their attention.
But, how do you keep it? And, more importantly, how do you turn attention into a closed deal? Most deals take a minimum of 7 or more attempts to close after making a proposal, statistics say. That means you have a long way to go.
Here are some tips to network well once you’ve earned attention:
Keep following up at least weekly until you’re able to make a proposal
Then, keep following up until you can get it signed. But, there are practical ways to avoid becoming a classic (annoying) salesman in the digital equivalent. (See below for how)
Come up with creative excuses on why you need to follow up other than “hey, I was just checking back…”
For example, send a link to a blog that relates to the person or to the conversation you had with them. They will respond with “thanks, I need to get that referral made for you…”, or something to that effect. You respond with “no problem, anything I can do to save you some time? Write an intro email for you that you can send?” etc. Sometimes people get stuck because they don’t know exactly how to introduce us or feel self-conscious about it, etc. If we supply the words they are much more comfortable and happy to send. That’s just one case. Each scenario is different, but like a martial artist in a fight, you will apply the knowledge you know to fit each situation.
Repeat this process consistently, and add some helpful links to your messages
When you are consistently providing relevant information, they start to appreciate your pursuit, rather than becoming irritated (as is the case in clichè sales tactics).
Close the deal, and don’t act like that’s not why you’re there
It’s essential that you make it clear that you’re after their business. It’s obvious, so be clear. They’ll appreciate your directness. If you don’t, it can easily be interpreted as ambiguity on your part. Ambiguity breeds mistrust and fights emotional ties. Both will work to destroy your chance of a closed deal.