The way we communicate has changed significantly since the introduction of the internet and social media. It has changed the way business market to their potential customers and the way we interact with them. The cutthroat world of sales has had to adapt its process to a market who increasingly no longer use the telephone to communicate.
How far would you go for a lead? Researching your potential sales leads on social media and connecting with them before a meeting. It sounds sinister but can also be justified. It is important to know your potential customers but there should be some ground rules to the initial engagement between business and client. These are entirely from my perspective and there is no right or wrong in this situation.
- Look but do not touch – LinkedIn is fast becoming the Facebook of the business world and whilst it is a place to connect with people, I think it wise to think carefully about who you are connected with.
- Any hole is not a goal! – befriending and messaging your potential customers on every popular social media platform is a sure-fire way of getting ignored and losing the business. Stalking outside of the internet is not appropriate the internet should be no different.
- Discretion is the better part of valour – if you truly want to connect with someone and you are going to be speaking to them in a call anyway then ask them, its novel I know but will save the embarrassment of an ignored invitation.
- Reverse the situation and ask yourself how you would feel, would it make you uncomfortable? In a world where your workplace has access to your life via whichever social media platform you prefer, bare that in mind next time you think a promotion is in order.
- We are only human – we all have feelings, yes business is business but your sale is only as good as your first impression – like a first date not everyone wants to go all the way.
I hope that this gives some insight into what is now becoming an increasingly common situation. It would be nice to see some kind of general etiquette established regarding this, of course, there will always be those who find a way around. The world of the first contact with a potential customer has changed dramatically – lured by a webinar or a freebie of some kind only to be persuaded into buying the product it relates to. The saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” is never truer than now.
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