75% of small business owners mentioned sales prospecting as their #1 challenge.
The problem isn’t that people don’t know what to do; it’s that what they’ve always done no longer works. Want proof? Think about the last time you met an actual decision maker at a networking event, and that conversation led to a sale. How about from a cold call? Speaking event? Advertisement?
The truth is this: if you do what everybody else is doing, you’ll get the same results everybody else is getting.
Which, in a world where prospects are increasingly turning off their phone and turning on their spam filters, isn’t much.
So, if you want to stand out (and get more meetings), here are five sales prospecting techniques you’ve probably never tried but probably should!
1. Become a Video Star: Everything I see these days involves video (in some form or another). And I’m not talking about those fancy marketing videos where the CEO comes on to talk about the new service you just launched. Or those happy, smiling customers on your homepage telling everyone how awesome you are. I am talking about using video for sales. Specifically, for sales prospecting. Email open rates have plummeted in recent years. And they continue to go down (and down). The average email click-through rate is now around 5%, which means that if you are sending a whitepaper, blog post, or brochure to 100 prospects, a grand total of 5 will open it. To put it another way, if you want to get 50 prospects to read your stuff, you’d need to send 1000 emails, and risk wasting 995 people’s time and being marked as spam. Now let’s say you were to include a video in that email. Nothing fancy, just you talking to the camera and saying a few words. Educating a little bit. Introducing yourself. Pointing to a helpful resource.
2. Learn from Your Losses: Think about the last 5-10 deals you didn’t get. Now think about why you didn’t get them. Do you know why? If not, go find out and three things can happen:
- You’ll improve. If you lost to a competitor, use this opportunity to find out what your competitor did better – or differently – to win the deal. Seek to improve continuously through feedback. Arm yourself with all the knowledge you can to ensure your next deal has a different result.
- You’ll resurrect the deal. Maybe the timing was off, or maybe there was one buyer who nixed the deal and five others who were ready to go. Find out what happened and you may be able to turn things around.
- You’ll generate referrals. Perhaps the corporate powers that be decided it wasn’t such a good idea anyway. In most cases, your contact at the company really wanted to move forward – and to do so with you. This puts you in a great position to ask a simple, yet powerful, question like, “Who else in your network can you think of that could use some help with…?”
4. Organize Your Own CEO Luncheon: People love to be around people who are like them (or who they aspire to be like). Invite a CEO to a seminar, and you’re likely to get a 0.000-something response rate. Invite that same CEO to an invitation-only CEO luncheon where they get to rub shoulders with other fellow CEOs, and hopefully you’ll get a friendly phone call from their executive assistant. Sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on all networking events and seminars that happen locally.
5. Perform a Sit-In: Before you think I just lost my marbles, let me say what I don’t mean by that. I don’t mean canvassing, the technique of going into an office district, knocking on doors, and requesting to see the CEO. These days, you’re likely to get looked at funny if you try to pull that one off. The next time you meet a friend, business contact, or former colleague for lunch, make a simple request: “Hey. Before we go out, would you mind introducing me to your [boss/CEO/VP of Marketing]? I’ve been wanting to get in touch for a while, and considering I’ll be over there anyway…?” Do it up front and get their permission, be sincere about your intentions, and don’t ever, ever sell while you’re in the room. Your objective is to get introduced, get contact details, and establish a next step. That’s it.
So there you go, 5 sales prospecting techniques you’ve probably never tried. They’ve worked for me. They’ve worked for others. They just might work for you. You can try to use these to get new customers, or maybe just one.