Selling in the information age can be challenging. 20 years ago buyers were dependent on sales representatives. The representative was the main source for providing product insights and education. Today buyers have the ability to access information on their own. This can present several problems.
- Without context the value of your product or service may not be realized
- Sources may not contain reliable information
- Competitors may have a greater online presence
The biggest problem is that your customers may not view you as needed. People are busier than ever, and their time is at a premium. Your request for 30 minutes feels like you are asking for their first-born child. It’s time to rethink your approach to getting access. It’s time to use the technology available for your benefit.
Networking is still a reliable method for getting in front of a dream prospect. Gaining access to key decision makers often happens after a referral or introduction. Today however this rarely occurs in person. We virtually meet and get introduced via e-mails, texts, and tweets. The most effective form of social networking shown for sales is LinkedIn. I have encountered many representatives that are slow to adopt this platform. It is often viewed as an online resume site or a corporate Facebook alternative. They are missing an opportunity to beat their competition to the punch. Don’t make this mistake. Use the three step method to gain access to decision makers.
Your LinkedIn Profile is a way to present your personal brand to your customers. A good looking profile page increases your chances for growing your network.
- Use a professional picture. First impressions are key. If your image is sloppy then why would a prospect give you their time?
- There is a section for adding contact information. Add as many options as possible so that viewers can contact you.
- Think about the attributes that your clients consider most valuable and include them in your summary section.
- In previous job descriptions emphasize accomplishments that support your current role. Focus on areas that add relevancy to your ideal buyer.
- Reach out to old clients and ask for recommendations. Viewers will see how you have added value in the past. Testimonials prove that you are the real deal.
Step 2: Expand Your Reach
There are two kinds of targets that you will want to add into your LinkedIn network. The obvious ones are your dream prospects. The others are those that would be a good referral source. Satisfied customers are low hanging fruit and a great place to start. Next use the search function to target specific prospect companies. Try to connect with gatekeepers and those below the C-Suite. You can cultivate relationships with them to gain access to key targets. Grow your network a little every day. It is a marathon not a sprint.
Step 3: Ask For Appointments
Now is where your hard work on the first two steps is rewarded.
- Look up difficult to reach targets in LinkedIn.
- Check to see if you have first degree connections in common with them.
- Introduce yourself by mentioning the common connection. Better yet, ask them to introduce you using the functionality of LinkedIn.
- Stay away from a sales pitch in your messaging. Find something of value that you can bring to the client and ask for a brief meeting. The goal of your first meeting should not be to sell anything. It should be to get another appointment.
Start using this 3 step method today. Download the LinkedIn Networking Guide. Don’t forget to wave at your competitors in the lobby on the way to your appointment.