The +1 Concept: Turning Social Media Contacts into Legitimate Prospects

Ben Newman Financial Advisor Coach

What is the “The +1 Concept”?

Once per day challenge yourself to identify 1 contact per day via social media and turn them into a legitimate business prospect (see language below). Be courageous and identify individuals in your target market that will help you take your business to the next level! The key: once you have identified the contact YOU must contact them; then you will have created a victory with YOUR +1 for the day!

The rise of social media has led to many changes in the way people interact, both personally and professionally. Businesses of all types are tweeting, friend-ing, and generally asking us to follow them on a daily basis. So while the biggest change in marketing strategy may be the efforts of businesses to drive customers to them online, for those of us in financial and insurance sales, it still comes down to reaching out through personal contact. And that still requires two old school practices, even if they are done in a new school way: research and referrals.

Ask for referrals

In some ways, social media has made our job much easier, and although some new rules apply, the basics remain the same. It’s no secret that the best prospects often come as referrals from current satisfied clients. Social media fits nicely into this process, allowing us to tackle research and make contact right from our computers, smart phones or tablets.
After working with clients, it is appropriate to ask them for permissions to contact those they care about.
“I have really enjoyed the opportunity to work with you, uncovering some key points on how I can help impact your future. There are a couple of individuals you’ve mentioned who you seem to care about very much. I would find great value in working with those people because it’s a chance for you to positively impact them. I would appreciate the opportunity to approach them and find ways that I may be able to help them concerning their future.”
Ask so clearly for the type of person that you want to meet, that they can easily visualize that individual and give you that referral.

Of course, with the broad reach of social media, it’s quite simple to find nearly any prospect for financial and insurance sales. I’m here to remind you that if there are individuals that you are excited to meet, you do NOT have to wait to be referred in order to contact them.

Do your research

When preparing to contact a referral or prospect, your first action step should be research.
Nowadays, most everyone out there is a mere one- or two- degrees of separation (or a few mouse clicks) away. Social media platforms make it faster and easier to do background research on someone, and it is vital to do the appropriate research prior to reaching out. This is because one of the most basic principles of successful sales is still: understand the needs and wants of your clients. What better way to initiate contact than by congratulating the person on a recent success – information that is easily obtained through social media.

Use the right words

Whether you plan to contact prospects by phone, email or through social media, pay close attention to the language you use. I use the term Strategic Calling Language to describe the words used to reinforce positive results.
You’ve done your research and you are now prepared to acknowledge a victory the person or company has achieved, or a new company objective they’ve undertaken, or best of all, you can offer a solution to a problem they have. (Insider Tip: Google Alerts and Company RSS feeds are great! Subscribe to them!)

Sample Linkedin Prospecting Language

Here’s an example using LinkedIn, a site with which I’ve had great success. (This can be crafted into a very effective initial email, as well):

“Brett, this is Ben Newman with XYZ Company. I know that my name may not sound familiar to you, however, I’m reaching out to you for two reasons: First, I noticed that we have some common connections and interests on LinkedIn and I’ve been keeping up with your company news.

“I read about the growth of your business 2nd Quarter and wanted to congratulate you on all the success that you’re having in Columbus. It’s absolutely fantastic.
Secondly, in addition to congratulating you, I wanted to let you know that our firm specializes in working with business owners just like you all over the country. I would never make assumptions about your situation, and I’m sure you have lots of your planning taken care of, but I would love the opportunity to take you out to lunch and to see if there’s anything I can do to help you?”

Note that one of the keys to this language is that everything is positive. By avoiding negatives, you distinguish yourself as somebody who’s uniquely upbeat, calling to congratulate someone on his success. Few are doing that today; most are attempting to get their pitch crammed in to the first 10 seconds, which is very effective if your goal is to be immediately forgotten!

Using social contacts to generate business opportunities

When using social media to reconnect with old friends as well as to generate sales, the line between friendship and business can easily become blurred. In order to have the greatest probability of success when using social contacts to build your business, it is imperative that you lead with business. It is possible to reach out in a friendly, casual way and maintain your integrity. Try this:

Hey John,

I saw you on Facebook and wanted to get in touch. I’m in a great business and I’m very passionate about helping people. I’m not making any assumptions about your situation, but I thought about you and, if I can help you out, that would be wonderful. On another note, I cannot believe how long it has been since we last got together and if I’m not able to help you out with business, man, it would be incredible to see you and find out what’s going on in your life. Please let me know what works for you sometime in the next week as I look forward to the opportunity to connect.

Leading with business in this way doesn’t diminish the personal connection. The tone remains warm and friendly. It does, however, eliminate any sense of deception about why you are getting in touch. If what you have to offer is legitimate, there’s no reason to be sneaky about presenting it. Your contacts will be more likely to want to do business with you, and more likely to refer someone else to you as well.

Go Do Great Things!

Ben Newman

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