Today’s post is by David Mattson, a best-selling author, sales and management thought leader, keynote speaker, and leader for sales training seminars around the world. As CEO and president of Sandler Training, Mattson oversees the corporate direction and strategy for the company’s global operations, including sales, marketing, consulting, alliances, and support. His key areas of focus are sales leadership, strategy, and client satisfaction.
No matter how advanced the communication technology gets, sales professionals are still going to need to reach out to new people. The trick is to pick the technology that makes that easy to do. These days, one of the best ways to warm up your cold calling is to use your LinkedIn network effectively. (By the way, if you’re not on LinkedIn, you should be.)
Let’s assume Juan Delgado is a first-degree contact of yours, and let’s assume you see that he’s directly connected on LinkedIn to Angela Yee, to whom you want to be connected. What do you do? You send Juan an email – preferably a LinkedIn message, since those are more likely to be opened and read. Your email says: “Hey there, Juan. I happened to notice on your LinkedIn profile that you’re connected to Angela Yee over at ABC Company. How well do you know her? Would you be willing to introduce me?”
In most cases, Juan will reply by saying something along these lines: “Sure, I know Angela. I’d be happy to introduce you.”
You then send a reply to Juan that says, “Juan, I got your message. Thank you so much for that. My experience is that an email introduction can work very well for everyone involved. I have attached a template for your review. Please feel free to edit it in any way you want.” The template you attach will briefly and plausibly introduce you as a potential resource for Angela, and then it suggests that Angela reach out to you.
Most of the time, Juan approves this template and he simply sends out your message, unedited, to Angela, copying you on the correspondence. Immediately thereafter, you email both Juan and Angela with this: “Hey, Juan. Thanks so much for the introduction. Angela, I’m really looking forward to speaking with you. I’m out of the office on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week, but I will be back in on Thursday. I will reach out to you by phone then. What’s the best number to use?”
You’ve just set up a phone appointment!
By the way: Don’t underestimate the importance of quickly moving this conversation from the realm of typed or texted characters into the realm of voice-to-voice or face-to-face communication, as outlined above. Why is this transition so important? Because prospects, by definition, are interested in finding a way to remove the pain they presently have. They are also concerned with finding a way to avoid pain they anticipate having in the future. These are emotional impulses! The intellect comes into play only when people want to justify a purchase. Here’s the challenge: If you don’t establish bonding and rapport throughout the sales discussion, and if you do not ensure that the prospect always feels OK enough to share his or her emotions with you, there’s no driving reason to buy!
This leads us to one of the major perils of attempting to conduct a discussion with a prospect without the benefit of verbal or body-language cues – via a series of email exchanges, say, that never turn into a real-time, one-on-one conversation. In these situations, you have no idea whether or not you’ve actually established bonding and rapport!
No matter how compelling the logic of the case you make via email, you will have a hard time figuring out whether you have tapped into the emotional currents that actually drive a sale. So do your best to move the conversation to a phone call, a video call, or a face-to-face meeting as early as possible in the relationship.
For more insights on the best ways to use LinkedIn to support your sales process, download the free book, LinkedIn the Sandler Way.
This post is excerpted from the book You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar. Copyright © 2015 Sandler Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.