Making more money – who doesn’t want that? If you’re a professional, service company, or small business, Twitter may be the most under-used tool in your sales armory.
Here are 6 field-tested tips for how you can shorten the sales cycle and grow revenues faster using Twitter creatively. We use them all here at FeedBlitz – they work!
1. Lead Identification and Prospecting
Tweets are people shouting from the rooftops, in public, about what they’re doing. The trick is to find the signal in the noise. So if you tune your Twitter searches properly (and you’ll need a good Twitter client (I use TweetDeck) for this), you can quickly identify people talking about your industry, you, or your competition.titors.
Twitter search is real-time, and so what you end up with is a live stream of people talking about problems you can solve with your business. It’s free lead generation and as timely as you can get it – right when the prospect is articulating a need you can address. It’s the perfect time for you to introduce yourself.
2. Engagement (and When to Stop)
So since you’re unlikely to be part of the initial conversation, be sensitive here. If it looks like there may be an opportunity, qualify the prospect by looking at their profile, follower count etc. If they seem to fit with your core criteria send exactly one tweet, something like: “FYI, saw your tweet, this might be of interest” and in that tweet link to a page / URL that describes how your solution is relevant. Your helpful message goes directly to the right person at exactly the right time.
Well … and then: do nothing. SHUT UP. Anything more than a single tweet with a relevant resource is too much. It’s a very short step from relevant interruption to spam. Don’t do it.
If your prospect has an interest they may thank you and you can follow up with a tweet offering further help etc. But if they don’t, move on (unless they re-identify themselves later, in which case you can remind them that you exist and send an appropriate resource).
There is a downside here. Very, very occasionally your prospect will get all angry about your talking to them. If you do tweet back, apologize for interrupting with something that you thought was relevant and then SHUT UP. Usually I just say nothing. Experience has shown that engaging with someone like this, even though the content is relevant and they’re speaking in public, is usually an express ride to troll-town (as in, don’t feed them). Self-righteousness is immune to logic, and you’re better off leaving well alone.
So if things work out you can now chat with the prospect (again, only if they tweet back positively) and you’re on the road to converting them.
3. Build Your Community
Meanwhile, you need to build your online community and Twitter stream so that when your prospect looks to see who you are there’s plenty of history to see. Keep business accounts focused on business (even if you’re using personal branding, like I do, to be more approachable). Stay professional (I’ve lost my cool occasionally on Twitter – always regretted it). Engage your customers and partners there too, so that each tweet isn’t just a business announcement.
Also, let your customers know you’re on Twitter. Service them there. Retweet compliments, and don’t forget to thank them for their kinds words too. Even if your community is small, if they’re positive and vocal it counts for an awful lot.
4. Working with Customer Communities
From individual prospecting to groups: If you see a hashtag in a tweet (e.g. #savvyblogging) research that tag. You may well find a community that has related interests, needs, and fustrations. If you can convert one or two of these, you have a great chance to convert many more. You can engage via the single lead approach here to be sure, but you can also get involved as a “trusted advisor” in more general discussions and become a part of that community too. Go to tweetups, attend events. Consider sponsorships. Become an insider and reduce the perceived risk of doing business with you. Twitter is great for finding these crowds (or Seth Godin’s “tribes”) that you can work with.
Plus .. it’s also fun to meet new people from new backgrounds! Truly, I know I’m a better person thanks to the people and communities I’ve found and worked with this way.
5. Building Partnerships, Allies and Testimonials
Assuming your business delivers you will get great feedback, build up your Twitter testimonials (or is that “twestimonials”?) Anyway, favorite the tweets from your fans (as long as they’re relevant) and bookmark your favorites RSS feed. To find you favorites feed, go to twitter.com. Once there, go to your favorites, and from the RSS options your browser gives you choose your favorites feed. Bookmark the feed’s URL.
Why? Because, using it this way, your favorites feed is, in effect, 20 testimonials from real people, unedited, updated in real time, all in 140 characters or less! Does it work? You bet. Here’s mine:
It’s a great resource for when people ask about what it’s like to work with you. Tweet back “Don’t take my word for it, see this…” and let your fans do the convincing for you. Awesome!
6. The power of the DM and 360 Degree Availability
Don’t auto-follow everyone how mentions you, your company or industry. It’s a waste of your time, IMHO. There’s no qualification there and you’ll be swamped.
But do follow people you’re working with (and the people they use to help them). Invite them to DM (direct message) you. Exchange emails, phone #s for longer, more in-depth conversations. The more available you are the better you will be perceived and the more likely you are to seal the deal.
Twitter is a great Revenue Building Tool
Sales is a full contact sport. Twitter can help you find prospects, convert them to leads, close the deal and build your marketing resources for the next cycle.