The Underdog of Lead Generation tools: WhatsApp

WhatsApp , the loved messaging app that sits on all our phones could be a great lead generation tool.

Sales and Marketing tribe love hacks, tools, tricks and anything that will get the job done in the shortest possible time.

And that explains why some are able to use the same tools more effectively and create massive results as against some others who struggle and finally give up on a platform.

“Facebook sucks”, “Google PPC is expensive” are some phrases of losers in the game.

My take is that the magic lies in the batsman and not in the bat.

But yes, the bat is a critical tool for a good, talented batsman. E.g. Facebook is available to billions of people and millions of businesses however why only a few succeed in getting leads and closing deals using the same features.

“Knowledge sets us free and application of knowledge sets us to succeed”

A very commonly available, as common as “table salt” these days is WhatsApp.

Related post: How to make Facebook work like LinkedIn for lead generation. Read here

I needn’t delve into what the platform does and how people use it to communicate. That’s common knowledge, even to a 5-year-old — who is able to download a video and share it as well.

Whatsapp has given power to a common man to eliminate bad network signals of a phone, text instantly like an SMS service, share content like a social media.

So it’s a phone, SMS and a social media on steroids. And did I forget to mention that it saves money on your international phone calls 🙂

WhatsApp lets you create Groups and Broadcasts

How I started

I started with meetup.com where I loved hanging out with sales, business development, and other entrepreneur groups.

A group based out of Mumbai had a group created for like-minded startup founders and entrepreneurs called The BestSellers Group.

It was almost packed with the 256 quota that WhatsApp gives us for a group.

I sent a short message like “ Getting a good filmmaker and producing quality videos is always a challenge for mid-sized companies. Anybody here facing the same problem?”

Getting in

It was all a non-intrusive, permission-based interaction.

My friend who recently started as a freelancer as a scriptwriter/film director wanted gigs and some projects. I thought let me give it a try by posting a requirement.

I just posted a simple question if people in this group wanted to make “explainer” videos, corporate videos etc.

Was there a need for such services is what I wanted to know.

Surprisingly, a lot of people especially IT product based companies responded.

This gave me a good feeling that there are people out of the 256 who are willing to listen and engage.

There was no pitch or mention about my friend yet. I wanted to see where it hurt and will they be interested if a solution comes forward to them, eventually.

Next Step: Take those conversations separately and get to know them or maybe meet them personally as well. These are “Leads”!

Ask more, don’t pitch yet

Like any sales, networking platform keep the discussions and interactions about the other person.

The message should be around pain areas and common interest on a pure knowledge sharing mission.

“Good morning! We are Acme Technologies and we specialize in Web Designing, Mobile Apps, and Testing services. If any requirement, do let us know.”

If you start pitching, they will start spitting!

I see so many people doing the mistake of “vomiting” on WhatsApp groups.

spray and pray method hardly works because 1. Maybe you are in a wrong group 2. You don’t know who your ideal customer is 3. You don’t have a niche 4. You can only sell on price.

Yeah, you are the only web designing company in this world and we are dying to do business with you 🙂

Like any other internet-based social media platform, users in Whatsapp have limited attention hence give them content that will help them, entertain them or inspire them.

The best way is to have a “dialogue based interaction” wherein you assume there is a small group of people and you are talking to them one-one.

It makes the conversation authentic and to the point. You should come across as an expert and not another sales guy or a spammer looking to vomit inside a group.

Be interesting on WhatsApp

Once I had built enough of conversations around video production and short filmmaking, I started sharing content in the form of blogs and videos on that subject.

The subject matter expertise was getting reiterated because I didn’t want anything in return yet.

What was happening in this process is that my Leads column kept growing.

Any person who came with an inquiry asking a genuine pertinent question was a lead for me, regardless of the fact that he didn’t have a budget or an immediate to procure our services.

I stepped up the gas and got Canva involved.

Creating small interesting posters on Video production and softly introducing my friend’s work in the creatives.

Used to send them as pictures after downloading them as png or jpeg files.

Early in the morning, I used a very catchy poster which came from me — the guy who is an expert, made it compelling for them to open anyhow.

Now the rest of the group who didn’t participate in the “text only” interaction were now interested in the creatives and started reaching out. So there were more leads now!

I kept the frequency to 7 to 10 days since I wanted to guard my image as a non-spammer within the group. The posters didn’t shout out about my friend asking for work.

Actionable: Make all interactions visual and interesting. Video and pictures work.

Get the snowball rolling

The best about making friends and acquaintances in WhatsApp groups — -you get invited to more groups.

I had to use lots of discretion and judgement to stay away from “junk” and irrelevant groups that wouldn’t further my cause.

Again the idea is to stay laser focused, not look desperate, brand yourself as an expert, listen more and give more.

Sometimes I used to solicit other group members by writing a short message like “guys from SaaS companies, kindly introduce me to your other WhatsApp groups.

Would love to learn and share more about video production.

The majority were happy to send me WhatsApp invites.

I remember in a single day I just became members to 10 similar groups. Meaning I had 2560 potential leads.

I got invited to groups who were in the business of selling ladies and kids garments. I would suggest hang out in those groups to see the quality of conversations.

Send out a Canva poster at the end of the week and see the response.

If they don’t respond, probably hang out for another more week. Cold response, get out of the group, give space to some other guy who might use this group better than you. And join a more relevant group.

WhatsApp Broadcast

One of the best features of the Broadcast feature is that you are able to personalize the message and send it to a focussed group rather than a group.

This becomes a Segment for us sales guys to target our warm leads.

We wanted to organize a Zoom conference call and set up an AMA on creating DIY videos, the broadcast feature was huge. We didn’t want to email or call our warm leads but send them WhatsApp messages.

Add all the recipients and send them a broadcast, they feel nice that you are inviting them especially for this event and you don’t get to spam the entire group as well.

I found this good for communicating with prospects who have a need to use our services in the near future, and they might have questions around it.

Next steps: Try broadcasting a message to some close friends of yours. See how it works like a charm. Not a huge game changer, but it works.

Low frequency, high freshness

A smart sales and marketing guy is always focussed, isn’t seen everywhere. He / she likes to listen and suggest vs. vomit and spray 🙂

Be seen in very few relevant groups. It would take time to sift and eliminate the wrong ones however the effort will pay dividends on a longer run.

Facebook and Google have ad rankings and the measure the effectiveness of your ad via your landing pages, quality of your creatives and content.

Unfortunately, beyond the WhatsApp group Admin, there isn’t a method to grade your quality of ads and interactions.

We will have to use our own judgment and smartness to be seen fresh and relevant.

The trick is to go slow, keep creatives fresh and interesting and send them at low frequency like 7 to 10 days.

There is no harm in engaging or discussing with group members who want to engage with you on a daily basis. It just builds good PR and help you in your cause when you actually decide to pitch.

Build your own group

Just like a facebook group, once you have your own fans, tribe or community members, go ahead and invite them to your own group!

Your own space, your own group where you get to set rules and be the Admin.

Conduct a webinar, AMA, sell them something of value, do a conference call, the options are many to use on this platform. Call using WhatsApp itself without spending money on your phone bills.

Having said all the above, there are so many gaps and rigidity in WhatsApp as a messaging/ social media platform.

Hope they are listening and coming out with great features similar to Slack or Trello, integrate calendars, and other apps.

Give it a try, make a start, use it as another lead gen tool. It does the job.

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