One thing I’ve discussed during the BxlTweetUpLab which took place last April in Brussels was how to network with prospects and clients. I spoke a lot about how to prepare before you meet one of your prospect or your ideal client. Surely 50 minutes isn’t enough to say it all when it comes to customer relationship, so I wanted to take the presentation as a starting point and expand a little.
I am a firm believer that there is a right time for everything – for selling, for advertizing, etc. For example, you might have just stumbled upon the website of your ideal prospect – they’re young and dynamic and they founded a fast-expanding startup. Perfect, you might say to yourself, I’ll go ahead and contact them right away. Well, think again.
If there is one thing that you have to know before contacting your prospect is that they first have to be aware that they need your services and that you can bring a solution to their problem. If they don’t recognize this need, you could be pitching to a wall and get about the same result. The thing is, prospects who don’t recognize their needs will see you as a nuisance. That’s why you want to be there when their expansion (they’re fast-growing, remember) will take them abroad or will bring them in contact with foreign parties (i.e. a country where your source or target language is spoken, depending on the context) – that’s where they will realize that they need translation services. Then, who will they turn to? Think about how YOU search for a service provider. It is in human nature to turn to our direct environment, right? Word or mouth, places we go online or offline, etc. That’s why being visible where they interact is crucial. If they already know who you are through a colleague (word of mouth) or an ad (that you strategically placed in a magazine they read, for example), they will be more likely to listen to you.
This is why it is important to keep track of your prospects. You have to try to know everything you can about them – what they do, who they know, what needs they have, what products they’re launching, which countries they are planning to expand in, etc. Give yourself the advantage of knowing what they’re up to so that you can target them and help them better!
Keeping track of a prospect can be quite difficult if you are extremely busy (and as a business owner, you probably are!). Here, I’ve compiled for you 4 ways that will help you keep track of your prospect online. What they all have in common is that they are automated and that they will be part of your daily routine (i.e. you won’t have to make extra time for that), which means that they will save you time and boost your productivity!
- Social media: does the founder or someone else (think strategically: Head of Marketing or Communication, Project Manager – anyone who would be directly interested in what you have to offer them) in the company you’re targeting have a Twitter account? Then why not follow them? It is highly likely that they will link to new blog articles they wrote, make some announcements and keep their clients updated on their latest developments. The same goes for Facebook, Google+ and any other social media they might be using. The good thing about social media is that you can like, favorite, retweet and share the content that they publish and start connecting with them.
- Subscribe to their newsletter: not a fan of social media? Then get weekly or monthly updates from their company directly in your inbox. The advantage of this strategy is that you can keep that email for later reference. Imagine yourself in a conversation with someone from the company – “Oh yes, I read that in your newsletter…”. People like being acknowledged – they will be glad to find out that you know who they are, what they do and what they stand for. After all, you’re a translator, and their brand is also conveyed by the words they write. If they really care about how their company is perceived by their customers, they will choose someone who “gets them”.
- Include their blog or website in your RSS feed reader: if you’re not on social media or like to keep things separated, this might be an option for you. Try tools like Feedreader or Bloglovin to have all of your prospects’ latest blog articles in one place!
- Google them: if your prospect is quite well-known within their own industry, Google News might bring you some external sources. It is a good idea to discover how your prospect is perceived within their own industry. Bonus tip: create a Google Alert! This will save you the trouble of googling all of your prospects every month or so as Google will automatically send you alerts every time your prospect is mentioned in a press release (and you can even customize the frequency of the alerts, if blogs should be included, etc.)
What about you? Do you keep track of your prospects? I would love to hear your strategies!