You’re at a party bouncing from one great conversation to the next, when you spot an attractive new person in the corner and open up an exchange. He begins by telling you about his athlete’s foot and this great new product that has almost instantly rid him of the problem. You respond by suddenly realizing you left your car lights on and make a dash for the door. Most of us ease into a conversation by first making acquaintance. We may draw on the standard elevator speech with our name and occupation. In a personal setting, we’ll probably also divulge stories about the kids and spouse, possibly our favorite restaurants, sports, hobbies…you get the idea. Before we enter into a deeper level of dialogue, we have to gain familiarity and a certain amount of trust with the other person.
Now imagine you’re having this conversation with a potential customer. Instead of talking with just one person, your message may now be reaching thousands. Most may never have met you and have no first impression of your company or your products and services. While your ultimate goal may be to increase sales, it’s important to begin the conversation with an introduction. Using various methods of outreach, you create brand familiarity and gain their trust. While sales goals are no doubt important, setting goals to increase online searches of your brand, raise favorable dialogue in online forums and blogs, generate positive press coverage and add to your lead bank are equally valuable. Extend the handshake and move these potential customers into the camp of people who already know and like you. Then you can expand the conversation and talk about your miracle cure for their feet.