The theme for most marketing seminars in 2016 was dedicated to the top of the funnel. How to drive more leads to your funnel, to your website, to your landing page, to your backyard b-b-q; if you needed to drive traffic, everyone had a solution. But what do you do once you have captured that elusive lead?

Don’t Sell. Connect.

You need to be creative with an approach to making a connection. You only have one chance to make a first impression so spend a few minutes on their website. Do you want to sound like you are working out of a warehouse in another part of the world or an expert in the field of all things marketing? Be knowledgeable and helpful, offering resources specific to their company’s needs rather than asking for a call in your first communication. Send a thoughtful email with a resource from your website they could benefit from and follow up 2 weeks later with another resource they will find helpful.

Utilize Social Media

Social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn give great insight as well as provide an opportunity to connect. Spend a couple minutes researching your prospect’s social media brand, liking and congratulating them on awards or accolades. Get to know your prospect’s industry and identify any challenges. Reading their blogs will also give you key insight. Your approach should be slightly customized so the individual reading can tell you took some time to get to know who they are. Once you set them at ease, you take away the red flags of a cold, canned email.

Each Contact Point Is an Opportunity

Filling the bottom of the funnel takes finesse, diligence and outside of the box thinking. You will get more responses when you take a few extra minutes getting to know your prospect. Don’t think some generic email you received a copy of after a free webinar is going to set you apart from the competition. Offer your expert advice and help, be specific when addressing how you can make their life easier. Follow up with 3 emails that speak directly to the potential clients’ industry and make it as personalized as possible. I keep each of my 3 emails brief and only adjust a few details to express my sincere offer to help.

Nurture the Relationship

Once you develop a connection keep massaging it. Sending white papers or case studies specific to their industry is key. Timing is everything, if they are in the information gathering phase remind them of all the ways you can help. Our B2B websites start at a higher price point and can take months of back and forth before an agreement is signed. Sending a final email asking 4 scenarios of why the lead may not be ready to commit to the next step will determine whether to keep nurturing. Can you see a pattern of helping rather than selling?

Make your message count by genuinely conveying all the ways you can help and use your brand as that example. Selling in 2017 is about being of service to a potential lead in need.