How well do you really know your customers? It’s the question we asked in Part 1 of this blog series and answered with why it’s important in maintaining and growing your B2B (business-to-business) customer relationships.
But what about prospective, or future, customers? Is it worth the time to get to know them as well? Yes, it absolutely is. And for some of the same reasons as we talked about in Part 1. But how do you try to get to know someone without it coming off as insincere, or merely a sales tactic.
We’ve all received those e-mails that begin with, “Hey [First name], I’ve got a quick question.” Or, “Time for a chat?” Who are we kidding?
There are graceful ways to get to know your prospective customers and develop real relationships with them.
- Create interactions with prospects on your professional social media sites, such as Linkedin and Twitter. Like, share, and comment on their posts. Ask questions relevant to their industry. Join discussion groups that they are a part of and participate in the conversations.
- Post your own content that is relevant to your industry and share it. For example, if your prospective customer is in the healthcare industry and your software enables HIPAA compliance, share articles, blogs, or research papers that speak to that topic. Another example is data security—top of mind for every industry—particularly when it comes to those companies that deal with sensitive data. Share content that validates how your company protects its information.
- Refer back to some of your interactions during your first e-mail or phone contact. “Hi Jane], it’s been interesting for me to learn more about your company during our Linkedin exchanges. It seems like it might be the right time for me to reach out about how I can help with your B2B customer support software.” Hopefully, their response will be something like, “Oh yeah! I recognize you. Thanks for sharing my posts!”
This process will help your first contact seem more genuine, rather than going in cold. And when you start off with a relationship initially, you’ve already overcome the first hurdle. Like I mentioned in Part 1, it’s like picking up a conversation with an old friend.