Sunday, July 13, 2014

Phone calls? Emails? On site visits?

A lot has been said about sales prospecting techniques over the years and what works and doesn’t work…..

Sales Cold Call?
Having worked in sales for more than 25 years, both in front line sales and executive roles, I have my own personal opinions on what works best and what is really a waste of time.   But I’m not here to give my two cents worth, because I’m a strong advocate that everyone’s sales technique will be different.  And you should do what brings success to YOU, not what someone who says they are an expert in sales is telling you to do.  I liken it to a baseball player…..some players can hit a fastball better than a curve, and other players are vice versa.  But both players can end up being Hall of Famers.

What doesn’t change is what’s important…having a meaningful conversation with a decision maker.  So how do we accomplish that?

Do you prefer email?
There a 3 main goals to accomplish when prospecting a new client. 

  •      Be Brief – no one likes to read a long email or listen to a long drawn out message 
  •      Do your homework – have some direct knowledge of the business or person you are reaching out    to….it shows you’ve taken the time to do research
  •      Bring Value – it’s wonderful you have a great product, but that doesn’t mean someone is going to buy it. Turn it around to show how you bring value or cash flow to your prospect

“Sales” is a profession and it takes a professional to succeed at it.  Sales rarely come on the first contact with any prospect, and often don’t close until the 5th, 6th, or even 10th contact with the customer.  Bottom line is you have to be creative and find ways to stay engaged with your prospect even when you don’t have a meeting or call scheduled.   It is here where the “Email, phone call, & site visit” come into play.  All great ways to stay in front of the customer.  Another easy, yet often overlooked method is social media.   

Here's a tip that works great for me.....Many companies maintain blogs today and even if your prospect isn’t the writer of his company blog, you can be sure they follow it and would see a comment on it if you were to make one.  I have personally had great success with this method over the years.

Don’t overlook Linkedin.  Send an invite to your prospect after a couple contacts; I wouldn’t recommend sending it too early in the process.  Too presumptive for me….

ALWAYS Follow Up!
 Don’t give up!  ......Often it takes me 2 or even 3 cycles of 6 to 7 unanswered contacts to finally get in front of a prospect.  If they don’t answer you in your first go around, push a follow up out 4 months and try another cycle of contacts.  If that doesn’t work, push it out another 6 months and try again.  Using a CRM tool will help you keep your schedule on track.  Salesforce, Outlook, ACT!, and any one of a number of more systems will do a nice job.

Remember my earlier baseball reference?…..My favorite quote that I post in my office to remind me to follow up, follow up, and then follow up some more:

 “ It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up”  -- Babe Ruth

Let me know how you run your sales business?  I try to learn a new technique every day….you should too