Today’s world is cluttered with many different outlets to get our information. We have the nostalgic media outlets of TV, radio, newspaper, magazines, etc., and now included with those are the modern versions – email, Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Pinterest, LinkedIn…STOP!!!! Sometimes it feels like too much clutter, especially in the world of sales. How many more sources of information can we handle? And, more importantly, how do we as professional sales people decipher these different outlets to get the prospect’s attention? What is the magic formula to get that meeting with your prospective client? Do you send him or her an email request? Do you message them on Facebook? Do you tweet them? That will work, right?
For the answer, we must look at our own behaviors first. What is your immediate response to an uninvited connection request? Are you quick to hit the accept or reply button? Does the thought race through your mind, “I can’t wait to meet this person?” Probably not. In fact, if you’re like the majority of people, as most prospects are, the response will be something like, “Who is this weirdo?” So, if that’s the case, then how do we get success? Do we just give up, insisting that the world has changed?
While technology can be a great productivity tool, too many sales people hide behind FEAR (False Expectations Appearing Real) as a crutch, especially when it comes to reaching prospects in the world of technology and social media. But, what if instead of hiding behind technology, we utilized the technology of today to be more productive, using it to follow up with clients, prospect our current clients’ network of friends, and research prospects more effectively, long before the initial face-to-face even happens?
Let me share with you the most effective tool to prospect in the modern era: FIGURE OUT A WAY TO GET IN FRONT OF THEM THE VERY FIRST TIME.
Revolutionary concept isn’t it?
Now the skeptics are all saying “Wait a minute Brett, that may work in your field, but mine is a professional field! We don’t show up anywhere uninvited!” But just hear me out for a second. I am not saying you have to ring the doorbell like a traveling vacuum cleaner salesperson throwing dirt on the floor so prospective customers are forced to watch your demonstration. I am simply talking about the timeless value of face-to-face connection, which can be achieved in many ways:
- Find out their social patterns and then happen to be there for an introduction.
- Use technology to find someone who is connected that can potentially set the face-to-face meeting.
- Send them correspondence through traditional mail (the volume of mail is down, making it easier to connect this way today)
- Attend a club or civic organization they are connected with.
- Use a customer for an introduction.
- My personal favorite – show up and ask for a few minutes of their time (not many people do this anymore and it will surprise how well it works).
You see? Technology is a great addition to the sales profession! It allows us to cover more ground more efficiently, increase production, and follow up almost instantaneously, but please don’t let it be a fear crutch.
What are some of your suggestions for modern day prospecting?
Do you find yourself wondering what you’re responsible for at the end of each day? Do you get to the end of the day feeling like you worked hard, but accomplishment doesn’t seem to follow? Many leaders fall into the trap of trading activity for productivity. We get excited wanting to feel “busy” rather than having a plan for what accomplishment looks like. So what are you responsible for as a leader? I will break down the five responsibilities of a leader that will assist you in zeroing in on results.
The number one thing we are responsible for as a leader is results. This may seem elementary to many, but people get promoted into leadership gravitating to administrative duties. Whatever you believe to be reality it’s always the opposite. There are no opportunities for administrative duties without results. Do not trade activity for productivity. Whether you are in direct sales, professional services, or some other industry, results is your ultimate responsibility. Spend time evaluating, inspiring, and mentoring your leadership team as it relates to their daily production. This takes a lot of time at first, but once there is professional creditability established, it will free you up to focus on the higher levels of leadership that generate long term sustainability.
Personal & Professional Growth
Now that you’ve mastered the results step let’s look at what it takes to maintain. The second step is to constantly grow yourself personally and professionally. Do you read something daily from your industry to give insight into current industry trends? Are you reading leadership, management, and inspirational books to give you daily ideas? If you don’t constantly grow yourself by intentionally working on it daily, one day you’ll be woefully equipped for a world that no longer exists.
Recently I took a certification class for a designation. The material that was being taught with required memorization had no applicable scenario to execute the professional requirements that the designation qualified you for. Do you find yourself in that predicament today? Start today with at least one hour focused on personal growth daily. Your entire existence will be transformed, finding yourself ahead of the peer leaders in your industry.
Develop a Team Growth Plan
If it’s important to grow yourself, how do you ensure your people are growing? The third responsibility is making sure your people are on a growth plan. Now I can hear many of you saying, “How can I get them to grow? That is their responsibility, not mine.” The truth is that most people will not invest the time in themselves until you make it a daily priority. Once they see the results, some will engage in a program of their own. You’ll be amazed at the transformation when you implement this. If you’re engaged in your daily growth plan it’ll generate daily lessons that can be covered with your team. Make a list of questions, that when answered, will be thought starters for the lesson you’re implementing. In addition, implement a monthly leadership mentoring program picking a book that addresses the direction you’re taking the team for the current year. Assign the reading, then review it weekly in your staff meeting, getting input from each of your leaders. Once this becomes a regular priority the results will transform what you believed was possible.
The fourth responsibility is to recruit others. Some will say that is pretty generic, yet how do you effectively recruit people from the outside without the assistance of your leadership team? Imagine if you had a group of leaders without a professional growth program? What type of people would they recruit? Growing people grow people, and growing people grow organizations. Each one of the responsibilities of a leader is connected and failure to do any one of them will result in mediocre results. So what are the best ways to recruit? Referrals from your customer base or leadership team that experience the uniqueness of your culture are the best. Resist the urge to get the top person from another company. While sometimes this may provide short term success, most companies have a definitive difference in culture. The culture difference can either sour the new employee or change the very culture you’re attempting to create. Be patient, grow your people, and then recruit in their circle of influence.
Become a Hope Leader
Last but the most important is to provide hope. Have you caught yourself saying to your team, “If we don’t hit this target I don’t know what’s going to happen?” While you may feel justified in saying that because of the internal feeling you’re having at the moment, remember you’re the hope leader in the organization. People look to you, like it or not, to let them know what is possible. How do you say the same thing without draining the hope? “Team the targets we’ve set are attainable with the talent we have at this company. These targets are a stretch but are required to reach the results we have all set this quarter. If you are having any difficulty with your plan of attainment please get with me individually. I will assist you with the necessary ideas.” Do you see the difference? Hope can make or break a leader, so make sure you’re intentional daily as the hope leader.
The five responsibilities are simple yet complicated. Focus on them daily and watch your leadership reach new heights. Violate them and you’ll have to get back on track quick before mediocrity ensues. If you need any additional information feel free to message me. Execute with Excellence.