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Strength in sales

It's all about relationships


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Touching your prospects is the primary objective to most marketing campaigns these days.  Thing is, most marketers are content with “touching people” through the various social media.  They seem to believe that if you push out enough tweets and comments, monitor your company’s brand and post pictures of kitties and puppies on Facebook, sales will magically appear.  I hold a different belief.

It’s people who do business, not social media pages. Don’t get me wrong: I sincerely believe that social media has a great place in any marketing campaign. But I work on sales. And even though I’m not pushing a sale each time I pick up the phone, I am hunting for the next great relationship.  And everyone in sales today agrees that the relationship sale is the strongest form of selling possible.

Relationship sales happen because, no matter how far we’ve come with technology, people do business with other people.  And people do business with people they like.  They can’t like you if you’re only a happy Gravatar on their screens.  So, after years of working the phone and hunting for the people who like to do business, I’ve come up with a pretty successful system.

Teaser articles that ask you to click through to their sales pages are also annoying, so let’s get right down to business. How do you initiate a great business relationship? Here’s what I do:

  1. RESEARCH
    There is nothing worse than picking up the phone, reaching your prospect and then using the wrong name, the wrong title, or the wrong stance. Look up your prospects on-line.  The information is there.  Use what you learn on the Internet to speak peer-to-peer with your prospect.  Don’t waste his or her time if you can find what you need on-line.
  2. EMAIL A LUNCH-N-LEARN INVITATION
    Once you know exactly whom you’re trying to reach, and you have their email address, send them a lunch-and-learn invitation.  Go ahead.  Be cheesy.  Just be brief.  Personally I like to say something like, “Let us cater in a hot lunch, and in 30-minutes you and I can discuss a hot topic.”
  3. FOLLOW UP WITH A SNAIL MAIL CARD
    The greeting card is an old sales trick, but one I find very effective.  I’ve had cards printed up with a catchy graphic on the front.  Inside I’ll scrawl a message that tells what my company does the best, with a suggestion we talk soon.  Maybe I’ll even throw in a gift card for a cup of coffee.  Here’s the key—make the envelope a bright color, and hand address the package.  Don’t worry about penmanship; just be somewhat legible.  People like to receive a real message from a real person. That’s truly building a relationship.
  4. CALL AND LEAVE A VOICE MAIL
    I know. I know. Leave a voice mail?  Most of the time, I wouldn’t recommend wasting your breath.  But here’s an opportunity to solidify the connection you’ve been trying to make. By three to four touches in, you’re ready for your prospect to record your name, what you do, and whom you work for. Save them the embarrassment of having to ask you your contact information.  Leave it in a phone message—AFTER you’ve touched their spirit.
  5. CONTINUALLY TOUCH YOUR PROSPECT
    By three or four touches, your prospect and you know basic information about each other.  Use that foundation to continue building the relationship and believe me, you’ll garner more than just an initial sale.  There will be add-on sales, recommendations and introductions elsewhere, and industry information you may not have been privy to a few weeks or months earlier.  After a while you can reduce your touches to once every few weeks or to once a month, and won’t have to worry if they remember you.  By this time you’ll have what good sales people everywhere crave—a great business relationship.

Yes.  It’s that simple.  And that hard.  It takes energy and emotional buy-in to build a good business relationship, but the rewards are well worth the ride.

You can do this.  Pick up the phone.

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Sam Dobbins

Sam Dobbins is the founder and president of the Cold Call King, A Sales Development Consulting Firm, formed in 2004.  Learn more at www.coldcallking.com. And reach the Cold Call King at sam@coldcallking.com or (303) 954-8553.

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