The handshake. Eye-contact. Phone calls. Data.com's "Prospect like the Pros webinar" has me thinking about how these traditional approaches to sales seem to be disappearing under a mountain of texts, emails, and tweets. The ease at which a "connection" can be made through these new technologies is undeniable. It's easier to make the initial contact, easier to convey a quick message, even easier to ignore someone. While all of these may seem attractive we lose the x-factor of personality with these tools.
With that in mind, here are some of the key prospecting tips the sales pros at salesforce.com shared:
Make a real connection
In sales you rely on your ability to separate yourself from the pack and let's be honest -- no email, no matter how flashy, is going to do the trick. The goal is to make a real connection with a prospect that leads to them becoming a longtime customer. It is here you need to call on those seemingly antiquated skills of conversation and "real life" person-to-person contact. You can't prospect for gold if you don’t get your hands dirty in the riverbed, so why would you expect anything less when prospecting for customers? It is imperative that you push to make real contact with your prospects and build relationships that allow you to be more than an anonymous sales person.
Calling is (still) king
Respect the phone call -- calling is king now more than ever. To reach executives on the telephone is so much more effective than leaving them emails and smoke signals. Even more so, don't just simply leave a message and expect a call back. If no one picks up you don't always have to leave a voicemail, allow yourself the ability to call back a few more times without the uncomfortable lead in, "I left you a message earlier, but haven’t heard back." But remember, every time you do not call a potential customer you are greatly reducing your potential in wins.
Always be making new quality connections
The more calls you make to a wider range of potential customers, the better shot at having a referral within the businesses you are contacting. According to the sales training pros at Basho, executives take the time to hear internal referrals 84% of the time simply because they feel obligated to. There are huge benefits of real person to person contact and networking. You may not know the decision maker in your targeted company, but you may have chatted with someone on their team. No one goes to their boss with, "one of the sales reps that I’m following on Twitter has this great offer!" Maintain the relationships you have and always be looking towards making new quality connections.
Do your homework, before you call
Once you have your executive on the line a little old-school common decency is a big plus...know who and why you are talking to this person. Taking the CIO through a demonstration and reasoning of why your product is a great lead generator is probably not the right tactic. Demonstrating that you have done a little background work and that you respect the prospect can go a long way and show that you are not wasting their time. Be prepared beforehand with what problems you are going to fixing, specifically for them. Impress the executive with your range of knowledge and understanding of their world.