Today’s post is by Dave Kurlan, founder and CEO of Objective Management Group and Kurlan & Associates (a global sales consulting firm). He has written two books, including the bestseller Baseline Selling.
You’ve sent emails to 10 prospects – or 100 or 1,000 or 10,000.
You’ve shared an update on LinkedIn with your 250 connections – or 500 or 1,000.
You’ve tweeted the same update on Twitter to your followers there.
You’ve sent your email newsletter to your subscribers.
You’ve left voicemails for the prospects who did not respond to your emails.
You’ve also followed up on the leads that came in this week and failed to connect with any of them.
Your Contact Method Matters
First, the phone should still be your primary means of connecting with prospects. The problem you’re having is that it takes many attempts to reach one prospect.
If you must schedule your calls/meetings with the C-suite, it can take as many as 15 attempts. If you schedule your calls/meetings with the VP level, it can take as many as eight attempts. And, if you are dumb enough to schedule your calls/meetings at the manager level, it may still take as many as six attempts. Most salespeople give up after four attempts – so there aren’t many connections!
You can schedule a call/meeting with procurement without much difficulty, but you are probably among the weakest 25 percent of all salespeople if you think starting with buyers is smart. They don’t care about much other than price; so, if you’re attempting to sell value, procurement cannot be your target.
Your voicemail messages are probably not helping, either. Most salespeople provide way too much information – enough information for a prospect to determine they don’t need to return the call.
LinkedIn and Twitter? By my estimate, only five percent of your connections there are active. While they do have profiles, they aren’t on LinkedIn every day, don’t participate in conversations, and don’t take notice unless they are specifically tagged on a post or invite. If you have 500 connections, and five percent are active, that’s a passive audience of only 25 people. If one percent respond to solicitations, it’s down 0.25 percent. Think about how many connections and followers you need before you have a critical mass/audience on LinkedIn large enough for one percent to respond to your posts and shares! As a result, you should see LinkedIn and Twitter as nothing more than personal marketing tools to provide you some visibility.
Emails are getting worse instead of better. The prospecting emails I receive from SDRs, BDRs, and marketers are not personalized or signed, the messaging is poorly conceived, and nearly all are deleted the moment they are seen. Good emails – although few and far between – are more likely to be read, but they will be responded to only if the prospects have previously thought about the problem the message addresses.
The biggest mistake salespeople make is believing they can conduct a conversation via email. You can’t. Use the phone, stop hiding behind your monitor, and do what salespeople are trained to do.
Being Effective on the Phone
Will you be effective if you use the phone?
It depends on how effectively you do the following:
- Your phone introduction: The first five seconds do more to determine whether your prospect will speak with you than the rest of the call. Do you sound like someone they would choose to speak with? You must sound friendly and cheerful when you introduce yourself.
- Your positioning statement: At a high level, this helps you communicate the problems you solve.
- Your examples: These are extremely short examples of problems you solve.
- Your discussion: It must lead to your prospects sharing that they have a problem.
- Your close: Your ability to convert the problem to a call or meeting.
- Your tonality: The speed, pitch, pace, and inflexion you use to create a nurturing call.
- Your consultative approach: Your ability to push back, challenge, and ask questions.
Your success in sales is in direct proportion to the size and quality of your pipeline. You have total control over your ability to fill that pipeline; it’s just a question of how committed, disciplined, consistent, and effective you are at conducting the activity to achieve a stuffed pipeline.
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