Earlier, we discussed the importance of being helpful to both prospects and existing customers by providing them with something of value they can utilize in their business. Although in my previous post, you learned how to make deposits in their social banks, we didn’t go into specifics about the different ways of building capital.
So, let’s jump right in.
As a reminder, you’re making a deposit into a social bank with the goal of increasing both your value and your authority in customers’ eyes. No matter how you engage with future customers, it’s essential that you provide them with value, specifically, something they can use to better themselves personally or for business-related purposes.
Value doesn’t have to be physical, just something they can understand and appreciate for its worthiness.
Stand Out from the Competition with These 5 Steps
1. Provide Something of Value
When you first meet prospects, naturally you’ll talk about their business. From your conversation, you’ll learn about their main strategy, operations, and other relevant factors. However, it’s important for you to gain insight into their pain points, including the problems they face on a consistent basis and what keeps them awake at night.
Without expecting to get anything in return, provide or suggest resources that could help with their specific situation. These could be articles, books, links to a podcast, or something else that helps solves their problem.
You can search for free resources or create them. Keep in mind that if you come up with your own resources, make sure they’re not self-serving. In other words, offer resources without making any offers or using sales pitches.
Ideally, you want to provide one or more resources immediately after learning about their struggles while maintaining a frame of mind as to how you can give them something of value. If you don’t know how to help them at the time of the meeting, contact them later. Explain that their situation intrigued you, then provide the resources and information about how they’ll help. If you’ve used the resources yourself, share a story or testimonial, which is even better.
What’s the best way to leave your prospects with positive thoughts about you as an individual? Listen to their problems, care enough to show concern, and offer a solution — an instant solution.
2. Give Prospects Your Valuable Time
Schedule an informal meeting, perhaps at a local cafe or coffee shop. During that time, you can get to know your prospects on a more personal level. Learn about their hobbies, families, the things they’re interested in, how they entered their line of work, and so on. Instead of using the meeting to discuss business, focus on the potential customer to find out what makes them tick.
More than likely, the prospects will ask about you and your interests, as well. Simply respond with your “elevator pitch,” providing brief information about your company. Then, redirect the conversation back to them.
Why is this so helpful?
First, this gives you the chance to learn more about them and how they shape their opinions and actions. The fact is that customers like to talk about themselves and usually, what they say is important to you.
Second, this gives you one-on-one face time without any distractions. At least for a short amount of time, you’ll be the only person in front of them. What happens is your face becomes familiar, which sets you apart from your competition.
3. Share Philanthropic Interests
The third step, which closely relates to step number 2, is equally important in that it builds on the theme of getting to know your prospects and the organizations they care about and support. Through conversation, learn how you too can support the organization either by volunteering or donating. For an even greater impact, you could make a donation in the name of the prospect or their company.
However, only make this offer if you genuinely believe in the organization and what it stands for. That way, the customer won’t view your offer as insincere. No matter what, focus on the goals of the group and the good work it does — not your good deeds.
Not only will this help you learn more about your prospect or existing customer, but it also gives you visibility outside of your work. As a result, they’ll see you more of a person rather than a business contact.
4. Join Their Professional Organization
There’s an excellent chance your prospects belong to one or more professional organizations. A great way to find out is by visiting their LinkedIn page or website. Even though most of these associations don’t have a lot of resources, they do depend heavily on volunteer work and donations from their members.
Do you want to stand out in your prospect’s mind? Consider volunteering your time or making a donation to one of these organizations, which will benefit you in two ways.
First, your prospect and other members of the association will see your commitment to their industry and professional group. The best way to prove your sincerity is by performing quality work. Overall, this is a powerful and free way to advertise.
Second, your potential customer will see your level of commitment and service. Remember, the other members will automatically associate you with your prospect through your excellent work. In the eyes of their peers, that increases your customer’s social value.
5. Provide a Referral
Provide your prospects and current customers with referrals to people who might have an interest in using their services. If any of those referrals convert into sales for them or they acquire a new customer, you’ll stand out from your competitors even more.
The bottom line — when researching a potential customer, consider people you know who might benefit from their business or service. By offering to make the introduction personally, both parties will see you in a positive light.
The beauty is that you can do this at any time during your meeting with the customer.
Find Ways to Make a Social Capital Investment
There’s really no excuse for not giving something of value. These five steps are inexpensive and easy methods that can be replicated. The key is to always be sincere and genuine when meeting with people. If at any time a prospect senses you’re going through these steps only to make a sale, you’ll do more harm than good.
So, get out there and meet your customers. Get to know them, learn about them, and help them. They’ll respond favorably.