I find it strange how it’s possible to go from having a difficult time grasping the concept of something, to finding endless ways to use it in a matter of a few months!

That’s exactly what happened to me when it came to Twitter.

I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised since I am involved in an industry where something we couldn’t possibly conceive one day … can change the world in that same few months.

Today I’d like to chat a little about how you can use Twitter to identify hot prospects and begin a conversation with them that can lead to the beginnings of a strong relationship. Not only that, but you can accomplish this without leaving your desk, and without even picking up your phone!

Step One – Identify Hot, Profitable Keywords

If you are new to the online world you might be saying to yourself, “HUH?!?!? How the heck do I do that?”

The best way is to brainstorm to come up with a broad keyword that your buyers might type in to find you.

For example, if you are a website development company, and you checked the Google Keyword Tool , you’d find the keyword “Web Development” is searched for an average of 823,000 times per month. That’s a pretty hot keyword as far as search volume, but also, the people who are using this keyword to search have commercial intent nearly 90% of the time.

It isn’t exclusively about search volume, it’s much better to go after highly targeted buyers that are READY TO BUY.

Step Two – Identify People with Needs

Now that you’ve identified your hot, profitable keyword, it’s time to find people who have needs related to this keyword. Twitter has recently added a search box on the right hand side of your page when you login.

Once you are logged in all you have to do is enter your keyword inside quotations ( “web development” ) and click the little magnifying glass next to it. Once you’ve done this you will be presented with “Real Time Results” with the most recent updates first.

Step Three – Listen to What They are Telling You

The next step is to review each result and quickly evaluate whether you can help them or not. The beauty of this search feature is that there will constantly be new results coming in so this one search could keep you busy all day and you’ll never run out of people to help!

The system won’t automatically dump them onto your screen which is good. Once you’ve pored through the most recent results you simply need to look at the top of your results and it will tell you how many new results have come in and click “refresh” to see them.

Step Four – Deliver VALUE and Don’t be That Guy (or Gal)

Remember PART ONE of this series where we talked about the sales person who attends the networking events and runs around the room “glad handing” everyone and cramming their business card in each person’s hand without allowing the person to say one word?

Don’t be that guy!

Evaluate each of the results you are presented and ask yourself, “What are they asking for and how can I help?” Their “Tweet” is an invitation to begin a conversation, not an invitation to apply some aggressive closing technique.

Using the Web Development example, you might want to create a report on “How to Plan for and Develop a Successful Website.” If you see they are thinking about developing a new site you might want to reply and send them a link to this FREE report. If they have a question about something to do with their website, perhaps you could answer their question.

Keep in mind that as you are replying to these people your replies are visible on your profile page, and the content could possibly show up when others are conducting searches of their own. This will help you build credibility and display your expert knowledge within your industry.

Please let me know if you’ve used Twitter in a similar fashion, or if you have any other examples of how to use Twitter for your business.