Saturday, September 24, 2016

Dial Up Your Sales Efforts

Tired of endless Prospecting without Results?

Hundreds of thousands of people try and fail at sales every year. Ever wonder why?

Some people are just born sales professionals.  Most have to learn the trade and work hard every day learning new techniques.  With today’s social media, there’s plenty of material to choose from when looking to expand your knowledge and understand what has made others successful.

Here’s my 2 cents for this week…..

There’s really 4 phases to sales, regardless of product line:

1.       Prospecting

2.       Discovery

3.       Presenting

4.       Closing

I’m going to focus on #1…Prospecting.

Prospecting is merely finding people or businesses to sell your product to.  It involves deciding who is the proper contact and how to best engage them.  In my 25+ years of sales, I’ve learned many techniques to open doors.  Regardless of the methods you choose, one thing remains constant:  You MUST develop and stick to a consistent outreach plan.

Most sales take multiple contacts before a prospect will listen to your offer.  I have had the best success in the last 5 years using a combination of electronic messaging (includes email, Twitter messages, Linkedin inmails, and videos) and the old fashioned phone call, spread out over a 2 week outreach period.

My style has been electronic message of some type (your choice, email or Linkedin) on Day #1.  Day #2 involves a live phone call, including leaving your name and general message (practice your pitch!) if you get voicemail.  I often use Day #3 as on “off day” with no contact.  Day #4 is another phone call, with no message if I get Voicemail.  (Everyone has Caller ID so you get your message across without actually leaving one.)  Day #5 ends the first week with a different form of electronic message.  If you emailed the 1st time, try Linkedin the 2nd.

During week 2, I will try the more "social media" style contacts.  I have had great success using Twitter.  Many professionals will not have their work email on their phones, but will get a notice if they receive a Twitter message.  Twitter is an underused ace in the hole.  Since it is so rarely used in business, people find it differentiates you from the crowd.  It is my favorite technique.

The next few days can be designed however you feel most comfortable, combining all the mentioned contact techniques in a pattern.  Try mixing it up, and see what works best for you.

After two weeks of attempts, I’ll put the prospect into a follow up stage, giving them a break for 2-3 weeks before starting another round of communications.  It is not uncommon for me to go through 4-5 rounds of outreach before I am able to actually engage a prospect.  Persistence pays in sales.  That is a common trait in all successful sales professionals.

There is no golden rule that guarantees a prospect will talk with you, but following a designed outreach plan can help increase the odds of engagement for you.

Happy Selling!