Go into the new quarter strong – here are 4 things to do instead of cold calling your prospect!
Over the years I’ve listen to lots of prospects and spoken to lots of prospects.
Of late I’ve become enamored with the idea of understanding how people buy perhaps more interestingly, how and when they prefer to be contacted. This notion has led me to start experimenting with and exploring alternative prospecting activities.
The following four approaches are proven, but represent a new prospecting point of view that I intend to investigate deeply over the next few years.
1. Offer Unexpected Insights
This is huge. The reason cold calling has become passé is that it’s contacting someone you don’t know anything about and trying to sell them something they may or may not need. It’s not that it never works, but even if you get lucky, you’re skipping a critical step.
I believe that any business owner, consultant or sales person that attempts to work with an organization, regardless of size, can greatly increase the value they bring to an engagement by helping a customer or prospect deconstruct their own customer journey. Provide value-added advice and insight by researching every stage of the customer journey an organization uses to interact with and move its prospects to customers. – What do they do to create awareness, educate prospects and customers, build trust, sample their offering, convert prospects to paying clients, and generate referrals?
2. Ask for Introductions and Make Connections
We can’t say it enough, and here’s a stat to remind you: according to research by Vorsight, contacting someone when you have a second-degree connection increases conversion rates from 32% to 50%.
Thanks to social selling tools, it’s quick and easy to find out who you know in common with your prospect. Selling is an inherently social act; don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction and to return the favor by doing the same for your teammates and colleagues.
3 Keys to Asking Success
- The best time to ask for an introduction is when a client of yours is saying nice things about you. All you need to do to get the introduction is to then ask them how well they know ‘person x,’ and whether they feel able to give you an introduction.
- Provide a valuable piece of content to start the introduction. Being introduced is no guarantee that a relationship will then start to build. Therefore, you need to provide value and credibility before you actually meet. Never assume that the other person will take you up on your introduction.
- Instead of asking for a referral, ask for their advice. “I love working with people like you, particularly people who have x challenge. If you were in my position, what would you do to find more clients like you?”
3. Become a Resource
Though it’s not easy, the solution is simple: become an important resource to your prospects. Though modern customers can glean a lot of the information online, they still crave the insight of an expert—someone who knows the territory and stays up on the latest industry news. By providing valued insights and knowledge, you can become that trusted advisor.
Here’s a framework that forces you to get the right answers to questions that showcase why your clients and prospects should see you as an a trusted advisor.
- What’s going on inside the company?
- What’s happening with notable parties outside the company — competitors, suppliers, etc.?
- Who do the buyers you’re working with report to, and/or who are the influencers in the company?
- How does this company “keep score” metrics-wise, and how do you help them in what they do?
4. Think Like a Teacher
Spend the time you would normally be pushing through a long list of cold calls to work on a reusable presentation or piece of content to send to your prospects.
One of the fastest ways to build your reputation as an adviser and a resource is to educate though social media. In fact, your buyers are already going to social media, including LinkedIn, as they conduct their own research. Through educating best practices, you can meet them there, establishing yourself as the go-to expert when they have questions or concerns.
Educating on social media can help you to win deals at multiple stages of the buyer’s journey and is the new branding, it’s how invisible buyers come to know, like and trust you and your firm. For example, in the early “awareness” stage, when a prospect first realizes they have a problem that needs solving, you can attract them with a polished, useful profile. Later, in the “education” and “sample” stages, you can position yourself as an expert by writing and sharing insightful updates and content that’s relevant to their concerns.
When you develop a reputation for being someone who can helpful and useful, then you get invited to places where you have the opportunity to sell.
Even cold call die-hards have to admit the merits of warming up the conversation before picking up the phone. The more you can create a comfortable, organic conversation, the more successful you will be. It’s been proven time and time again—and now you have social selling tools at your disposal that make it easier than ever.