In these times, double down — on your skills, on your knowledge, on you. Join us Aug. 8-10 at Inman Connect Las Vegas to lean into the shift and learn from the best. Get your ticket now for the best price.
Prospecting is one of those necessary evils for any successful business. You must be willing to go out and make new connections, create relationships, and leverage your sphere.
But how many people are taking advantage of the opportunities that Instagram affords them to be able to not only prospect but to do so at a scalable level?
You might be thinking, what does prospecting on Instagram mean, and how can you do it?
The fast answer? Imagine having three to five bullet points of details about each person you are about to call or visit with. Details such as things they enjoy doing in their time outside work, the sports their kids play, or their favorite little coffee shop in town. How much different would that interaction be?
That is the magic sauce that Instagram allows us to capture. So what are three ways to make sure that you are taking advantage of the opportunity to prospect on Instagram?
Connect first, engage second
When you want to initiate contact with someone, most people will skip the connecting part. They go straight for the kill.
Have you ever received a message from someone you have never met asking you to work with them, send them your business, or buy something from them? Feels very car salesman slimy.
So how do you combat “being that guy?”
Connect first, then engage.
When initiating contact, scroll their feed a little, watch a few of their stories, read their bio, and check out their highlights. If you find something to connect with them on, engage with that!
Finding connection can sound something like, “OMG, I didn’t know anyone else loved Honey Lavender lattes as much as I did, but this one looks amazing. Have you always been a fan?”
Two things happened here. First, you demonstrated that you took the time to see what they posted and didn’t just comment to comment, and second, you asked a question based on what they shared.
What will happen here? The reply you get will be longer, the conversation will be easier, and you will have an opportunity to create further connection on a mutual love.
Here is a great example of what connecting first looks like in your DM’s!
Even though when you go to engage with someone, you may already know them, connecting first should always be your go-to. In this example, you can see how the person that was messaged, aka the potential client, was the one to bring up knowing the person previously. This conversation flow sets up the ability to go for an ask quite well!
Small talk is not a bad thing
Many people struggle with having just back-and-forth conversations about little things such as honey lavender lattes. But here is the thing — this small talk is a good thing.
Small talk is exactly what you must do when working with a potential new client. Getting to know them creates the like, know and trust factor, and more importantly, makes sure that they don’t just feel like a number or a transaction to you.
What’s even more important to note is that most agents, when asked, will say that it takes an average of six to eight touchpoints with a potential client before they are ready to convert.
Therefore, understanding the value of small talk is key. Now imagine this: you could be having 30-45 conversations per day that continue every day of the week, which would get you a lot closer to that six to eight mark than if you had to do it by picking up the phone and talking to each person one-to-one every day.
Your Instagram is a prospecting tool on steroids.
Here is an example of how small talk allows you to work through those six to eight touch points with ease while also setting you up for a chance to move the meeting. (See that in step 3 below)
Re-engage and move the meeting
Not every conversation will naturally continue for days and days or go right from small talk to conversion opportunity.
Some conversations will naturally fizzle out, and others will have natural break points. So what do you do?
Re-engage. Find a day of the week when all you do is go back and start a conversation with someone who you have already spoken with before. They may have a new feed post up, a new story you can engage with or, better yet, both.
Once you have done your re-engages, focus on the conversations that are ready to potentially move to a “meeting.” This can be a Zoom meeting, a phone call or a coffee date. The most important part is connecting first, then using the connection to create the conversion.
This can sound something like,
“Michelle, I know you and I have been chatting a bunch, but did you see the new coffee shop open up on Main Street? They are having a grand opening next Wednesday, and I would love to meet up with you there and buy you a honey lavender latte! Are you available at 9 a.m.?”
Here is what happened there: First, you used our connection to create an opportunity, and second, you set the date and time for the appointment. If the person can’t do that date or time, they will tell you. Then you work around it.
Being intuitive about moving the meeting is important, but nothing is more valuable than making sure you focus on connection first, then conversion.
When you can take a relationship from the virtual world into the real one, and it is based on connection and conversation, the real-world interaction is like super glue to the relationship.
The best part? After the meeting, the social world allows you to maintain that relationship and stay top of mind.
This person you have now had a meeting with gets added to your favorites list or your close friends list on Instagram, and they get interacted with on whatever day of the week you assign to your “warm leads.”
Seeing Instagram as a viable prospecting source is the first step. There is a mental shift that must take place for you to start to see it as an opportunity, not a time suck. But when that switch is flipped, the opportunities are endless.
Michelle Berman Mikel is a nationally sought-after Instagram Content Development coach, speaker, owner of Berman Media PD and creator of the Instagram Power Method Program. You can connect with her on Instagram and LinkedIn.