Use LinkeIn To Save Time Prospecting For New Clients

To win the sales game you have to maximize the use of time.  Typically, sales professionals and business owners who have to sell are torn between balancing prospecting, selling time, and administrative time.  Anything that can make you more effective in using time is like money in the bank.

One of the best ways to leverage time is to use the internet to network.  You can really leverage your time by using the social networking sites that are out there today.  Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are quickly becoming the way for business sales professionals to leverage time.

These sites are not just for sharing what you are up to right now or show pictures of your family vacation.  They can be very powerful business tools.  For example, if you go to a networking event to meet new contacts you have an investment of approximately 3 hours.  You have to drive to and from the event, the time spent at the event itself, and the follow-up after the event.

If you contrast attending a networking event versus going on line and meeting new people, you can easily save more time.  In addition, you could meet more targeted people for what you do and begin to establish a relationship immediately.  Now don’t get me wrong networking online does not replace meeting people face to face.  You will want to do that with the people you meet online.  But with such tools as GoToMeeting® you can meet virtually with anyone in any location.  This means you are not tied geographically to one area.

This can be very beneficial if your territory covers a wide area.  You can network in two or three cities sitting at your desk.

But what is the best social network site for business?  You really should be using all three mentioned above.  Facebook and Twitter should be a part of your social networking.  However, to get started in social networking, LinkedIn is the best.  LinkedIn is the number one social network site for business.  Executives from all fortune 500 companies have profiles on LinkedIn.

Using LinkedIn you can interact with people that otherwise would be very difficult to interact with.  One tip to using LinkeIn effectively is to get to know people that know the people you want to know.  (now that’s a mouthful isn’t it!)   Another tip is to have a good profile page.  Your profile page is like your resume to allow other people to get a sense of who you are.

Learning LinkedIn is not a steep learning curve, but there are some “must know” items. You must know how certain things such as profile page setup, groups, LinkedIn advertising to allow you to use this networking site to its fullest.

I came across a good resource that gives you a step by step approach to using LinkedIn to increase your sales and make your networking more effective.  It is a video course called Linked Influence and it literally takes you by the hand to show you how to do everything.  This course will save you time in using LinkedIn,

To get more information on this course click here: Linkedin.winningthesalesgame.com

Like it or not, social networking is here to stay and if you want to remain on the cutting edge of marketing and sales you have to get onboard this train.    In the long run, you will sell more business in less time.

Happy Selling

Keeping Prospects Engaged

You call on a potential prospect but they are not ready to buy now.   You recognize this is not a stall, but a legitimate reason that they can’t buy now.  It could be they have a contract that needs to expire, etc.

The question is how do I keep them engaged between now and the time they are ready to buy?

I had a coaching client who asked me this question.  She was having difficulty seeing how to keep a potential prospect engaged for the next 12 months until their current contract expired.

Here are a couple of approaches you can implement in your sales strategy to keep your prospects engaged.

To keep a prospect engaged you have to understand the key things that are important to them.   This doesn’t have to be something related to your product or service (in fact it works much better if it isn’t), but something that is important to their company, market, or business.

When you know what’s important to your prospect, you can send them information that you feel they may find valuable about that topic.  This could be an article from a trade publication, newspaper, etc.

How you send this information is very important.  You want to cut out the article and attach a personal note.

Something to the effect of “You mentioned about this topic being important to you.  I came across this article and I thought you might find it interesting and useful.”

Send in a hand written envelope addressed to your prospect personally.

This aids in getting the letter past the gate keeper because it appears to be personal mail.

You don’t want to add anything that would be self serving such as “I’m looking forward to doing business with you.” or anything like that.   Make this correspondence solely about them.

Now, in a week or so you can call and ask did they receive it.  Your initial conversation is about the information your sent.    Then you can then turn this conversation into something about the future possibilities of working together.

Here is what you have created in this sequence.  First, you have demonstrated you have the best interest of your prospect in mind.  When your prospect believes you are going to do what is best for them it increases your creditability.

Secondly, you have differentiated yourself from your competition.  Let’s face it, very few people take time to consider what is important to someone else and then take action on it.  Mostly, people only do what will benefit them.  Here you have demonstrated you want to do what is best for them.

This is highlighted even more because the information you send is totally unrelated to your product or service.

Another technique you can use is inviting.  There may be a program or event that is dealing with the subject your prospect is interested in.  Invite your prospect to the event.

This is a powerful demonstration of you thinking of your prospect.

Whether or not your prospect attends the event or not doesn’t matter.   The impact you make is in the inviting.  When you invite someone to something the underlying message is: “you think enough of me to invite me to this event.”

Of course if they attend it is really great situation because you get some “face” time with your prospect.

Try these two techniques and you will keep your prospects engaged.

Happy Selling

Cold Calling Success: How to Make the Cold Call “Warm”

The rate of success for making contact in cold calling is somewhere between 2 and 5 percent. The gatekeeper or voice mail often blocks the salesperson from making contact and moving the sales process forward. This means that the salesperson has to make a lot of cold calls to generate enough sales opportunities to be successful. So how can the salesperson lessen the impact of these barriers to success?

The Pre-Approach Letter

Using pre-approach letters is an effective way to “warm-up” a cold call. After all, the purpose of the cold call is usually to set up an appointment to meet. Using the pre-approach letter helps you get pass the gatekeeper and increase callbacks from voice mail. A pre-approach letter is correspondence or letter sent to a potential prospect before you attempt to make telephone contact. The letter should give information about what you do, what problems you solve, and build enough curiosity to make the prospect want to talk with you. Don’t make the letter too company centered or “me” focused. Focus on the problems you solve and how you go about creating better situations for your clients and customers. Always make your pre-approach letters specific to your prospect’s industry. So if your prospect is a manufacturer make the letter specific to manufacturing. You can have several pre-approach letters for each of the industries you work in. Most importantly, the letter should state specifically the date and time when you will be contacting the potential prospect. This means you have to plan your pre-approach letters with your call back schedule.

Follow-up Call

Now that you have sent the pre-approach letter with the specific call back time, you are ready to make your “warm” call at the appointed time. A common question the gatekeeper will ask is: “What is this in reference to?” You can then confidently answer: “I have a commitment to call Mr. / Ms.______ can you put me through?” If you receive voice mail you can leave an effective message such as: “My name is ________ with __________ and my number is _________ (slowly). I am calling as I promised in my brief note to you the other day. In working with companies like yours we have helped them (do, save, implement, improve, etc.). Give me a call at __________ (slowly). I have something very important to tell you about how we have discovered a proven way that can help you (do, save, implement, improve, etc). Call me back when you get this message and we can set a time discuss it” You want to leave a short message that creates curiosity and a sense of urgency. It’s curiosity that gets a potential prospect to call you back. Your voice mail message must show the uniqueness of what you can do for your prospect. Consider your prospect gets many voice mails each day from salespeople wanting a call back. You have to differentiate yourself from all the others so they will call you back. Also, be persistent. If you don’t’ get a call back in a couple of days call back and leave a similar message. Of course you can repeat the process over again of sending another pre-approach letter.

Try using pre-approach letters to “warm-up” your cold calls