In this blog post I am going to offer a really important sales truth. If you have spent any time online you will have seen a spate of so called sales experts telling you everything has changed. They also say if you do not change you will be left in the dust. Really? Hopefully you are not that gullible. Please do not be one of those always looking for the better mousetrap. Don’t be distracted by another shiny toy!
To reinforce this blog, I recommend a review of a new book by Mike Weinberg just launched this week. To see why Mike wrote the book check out this short video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dyQF_hNTDU
Sales Truth #1 – Yes Some Stuff has Changed but it works both Ways!
To me selling is really just two things. Find someone to talk to and then talk to them. The massive growth of the internet helps with the first and in some ways hinders with the second. Let me explain.
If you do a lot of prospecting the internet can be your best friend. You can easily search for target companies based on geography, vertical markets and more. You can find online business resources (some free and some subscription based) that make this really simple. They give you everything from ownership info to employee counts to revenues to contact information. Use platforms like LinkedIn to research company pages, key employees and their backgrounds and more. You can even subscribe to additional LinkedIn services like Navigator which allows you to see if your contacts know these prospects, you can send InMail directly to prospects and more. The internet and these resources and tools make prospecting so much simpler than ever before. But and this is a big but – you still have to talk to them. Having a big list means nothing if you cannot convert it into opportunities, quotes and won deals!
On the flip side the internet can stifle you. Have you ever gotten a prospect on the phone only to realize that as you are talking they are looking you up in real time online? Is your company website up to this direct scrutiny? What about your social media presence and your profiles? Whether you like it or not you do have to accept this is happening all the time. When I do send any type of introductory email I always include my LinkedIn profile link. I want my prospects to check me out. I work hard to make sure my profile is current, accurate and shows me in a positive and professional light.
Sales Truth #2 – Time and Timing is Everything!
When I say time, I am really saying you have only a few seconds to grab someone’s attention. It does not matter whether you are doing this via email, phone, at a trade show booth or chance meeting. If you cannot metaphorically ‘set the hook’ you are probably not going to be successful with this prospect.
Some so called experts are suggesting that unless you are using some new shiny tool you are dead in the water. One of the latest approaches is to use video email. You can make it personal, you can be brief and you can practice it over and over again until you get it right. Let’s be clear – it not not a panacea or magic bullet. You still have to do the same things as if you were face to face because in effect that is what you are. If using video email can improve your ability to get the meeting then go for it.
When I mention timing versus time what I really mean is that the prospect needs to be in a ‘place’ or ‘state’ where the timing is right. The best approach and offer will fall on deaf ears if the prospect is focused on other priorities and has no time to commit to something he or she feels is not necessary.
Sales Truth #3 – Focus on the Fundamentals
By all means look at every shiny new toy or tool or technique that comes along. Just do not forget the core sales fundamentals are pretty stable. Prospecting, getting meetings, presenting, following up and closing all have to be done and done really well. Talk to the best performers in sales that you know and they probably are all really good at the basics. They work hard to improve their skills and are not looking for shortcuts or dodges.
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