Inspiration from the Park: 5 Ways to Encourage B2B Prospects to Reach Out to You

Inspiration from the Park: 5 Ways to Encourage B2B Prospects to Reach Out to You
Michele Linn - Tue Nov 10, 2009 @ 01:15AM
Comments: 13

Lessons from the parkThis weekend my daughter and I were hanging out at one of our favorite spots: the park. As we were making our way from the swings to the slides, I was struck by how much she's changed since the spring. Several months ago, she needed help to do almost anything, but now she is navigating many things like a pro (except embarking on her favorite purple dinosaur and getting in the swings).

We've been to the park so often, we have this unspoken understanding; I (usually) know when and where she needs a hand and when she wants to be independent. All I need to do it put my hand out in certain places, and she'll grab it for reassurance.

Our silent "dance" in the park got me thinking: wouldn't it be nice if our prospects and customers felt they had our proverbial hand to grasp when they have a question or need some support? How can we be more accessible without hovering? Here are some of my ideas:

Make it easy to contact you:
This should go without saying, but you need to make it easy for prospects to reach out to you -- and encourage them to do so! Sure, you may have a contact form on your website, but, let's be honest: that's pretty impersonal. Make your email and phone number evident and consider othr real-time options like online chat. You want prospects to know they you want them to contact you!

Always respond:
This one seems obvious, too, but it doesn't always happen: once your encourage contact, you need to consistently and promptly respond if you want to be seen as a trusted source. Not in a week or whenever you feel like it, but as soon as you can.

Initiate discussions:
I'm drawn to genuinely curious people who ask thought-provoking questions. Mark Schaefer, who authors the blog {grow}, does this exceptionally well. Not only is he very entertaining, but he has a gift for fostering conversations and stretching my mind in new ways. Because he is always sharing his opinions and soliciting feedback from others, I wouldn't hesitate to reach out to him. He's the kind of guy I know who wants to be part of the conversation.

Be conversational:
It doesn't matter if you are selling to consumers or business people: people are people. If your website has a stilted, formal tone, readers will assume that your company is stilted and formal, too, and they won't be excited to engage with you. But, if you have conversational tone in everything you do (your website, your emails and all of the content you produce), your audience will feel more at ease, and they will want to talk to you. As just one example, Chris Brogan does a great job talking to his readers in his newsletter. When I read it, I can picture him speaking directly to me. I understand why he gets a great response.

Consider lead nurturing:
In addition to making yourself accessible when your prospect wants to reach you, I think one of the best ways to stay in contact is through an effective lead nurturing program. To be clear, this isn't a barrage of emails you send to make sure your name is front and center. Brian Carroll summed up this sentiment well in a recent post in which he outlines the steps for creating a true lead nurturing program (a great post to read if you are interested in lead nurturing):

"Sometimes in an attempt to vamp up lead nurturing efforts, misguided and well-meaning organizations simply start sending out more emails. When email is misused in this manner, companies are really just training prospects to ignore or delete their messages. "

These ideas are just a start, and I am sure you have many others. What are some ways you are making yourself and your company accessible?

Related posts:

Read more Savvy B2B posts from Michele.

Comments: 13

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