Know What Your Prospects are Passionate About

Here are a few easy ways you can use social media to learn more about your prospect's interests.

April 7, 2016

  • sales-prospecting-tips

Sure, you want to sell your solutions to potential clients. But those folks don't just want to talk about workflow management and new business development. They care about a whole lot more than that—they’re whole human beings, after all.

By personalizing your interactions with a prospect, they’ll understand that you care, and more importantly, you'll build their trust. And in truth, trust is the main currency of social selling.

So what outside-the-office pursuits is your prospect passionate about? It's easy to find out. On Twitter and LinkedIn and elsewhere, prospects leave "breadcrumbs and data every day," writes sales and marketing expert Michael Brito, in LinkedIn's eBook on how to personalize sales.

Here's how to find the crumbs.

LinkedIn Profiles

Right on their LinkedIn profiles, many users will list many of their interests—so you'll know if a customer likes skiing or taking photos or writing eBooks. She also may list the causes she care about—whether that’s animal welfare or the environment. You'll also see the colleges she attended, which could be useful if you have a connection to that school or want to talk sports.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. You could also look deep down her long list of skills to see that, for instance, while she works nine-to-five as an advertising executive, she also has an expertise in journalism. If that was a past passion of yours too, you’ve found a perfect jumping-off point for a meaningful conversation.  

Follow Contacts and Their Employers

The Interests tab on LinkedIn is a powerful tool to find a prospect's passions and begin interacting. If you follow her on LinkedIn's publishing platform, Pulse, you'll see what she's commenting on and posting—perhaps you’ll find that she's super interested in work-life balance and enhancing productivity.

Also under the Interests tab, pay attention to what your prospect's company is sharing, since it's a good bet the content is being circulated internally too. If the company links to a post on "How to Find a Great Mentor," your specific target at that company may have paid attention to that.

When your prospects share an update or make a comment, you can start adding your own thoughtful take, knowing they’ll be watching. It's a great way to show that you have their interest at heart and that you have a unique perspective to bring to the table.

Make a List on Twitter

Make a private list of your prospects on Twitter and monitor it vigilantly every day. You'll be listening to whether they’re following politics, the stock market, or their city's hottest restaurants.

If you want to avoid looking creepy, or think you already follow the prospect on too many social channels, you can add the prospect to a private list on Twitter without even following him or her.

Put Your Research to Use

These crumbs of information can be used to tailor your messaging to each customer with an engaging message. Remember: you’re a person, too—not a sales robot.

Social selling evangelist Jack Kosakowski, always the man looking to bring fun into sales, uses this strategy. In a blog post, he offered a few scenarios oh how he employs it.

One of them: he looks at a potential client's Interests on LinkedIn and sees that both of them appreciate outdoors. So the subject of his first message to the prospect was "Outdoors, Sales & Technology." Then he used those themes in his personal, witty note asking to connect some time.

So take that advice to heart. The next time your healthcare industry prospect posts about how much he loves tacos, think about a message that includes how you can't get enough of them either. Use what you've learned to craft an opening message and open the door to a fruitful relationship.

For more tips on how to engage with the appropriate insights to build on leads, download the eBook How Personalized Selling Unlocks Competitive Advantage.