It was a cold, rainy night in the loud, dingy city. Down the street, a neon light flashed Elmer’s Bar. She glanced at the sign and said: “just one to ward off the cold.”
She went inside and ordered a cosmo slightly chilled with a lime twist, her favorite.
The bartender said, “lady we don’t do the fancy stuff here.”Across the bar in the shadows was a tall stranger. She heard him say, This one’s on me. She looked in the light and said,” you gotta be kidding you’re going to buy me a drink?” This was the start of the torrid affair between sales and marketing that produced the offspring -Smarketing.
Seriously- The face of sales is continuing to evolve, with sales professionals using advanced data analytics to start the sales conversation online and transcend into an offline relationship of selling.
Becoming relevant or even found online is becoming increasingly difficult in the digital world.
Let’s talk about what works in today’s digital conversations.
Be a Human
We have all got them. The invites to LinkedIn followed 10 seconds later by a spammy message of what I am doing wrong in my business and how I will not survive another day if I don’t buy their product. Yuck! Why would I respond to this? What I find amazing is that someone thought this message would work- with anyone!
Selling online is not that much different than selling offline. Sales people that “show up and throw up” don’t make many sales or friends. If you wouldn’t do it in the “real world”, don’t do it in the virtual one.
Chinese Water Torture
This ancient form of torture uses water to drop on the prisoners head drop by drop incessantly until the prisoner breaks or goes insane. A little extreme- yes. This is similar to what happens to your prospect when you use the same message and type of communication portal over and over and over. Be unique, mix it up and bring value to the interaction most of all.
Make the best use of everyone’s time- do your research. Learn all you can before reaching out. What’s in it for them? If there is not a compelling reason for them to meet with you most likely, they won’t.
Ways to Reach Out
There are many different ways to start a conversation without being spammy. Try a few of these to get started.
- Send them valuable content
- Offer free products or services- not directly related to your offering
- End with a question
- Ask for a recommendation from – product/service/vendor
- Share a common interest- research
- Analyze their product/service/company compared to industry – give them results
- Ask them for their opinion
- Ask them for advice
- Conduct a Survey- ask them to participate (make it short/relevant)
- Share their content, compliment them
- Send them relevant industry content
- Congratulate them- awards, news mentions, etc
- Ask them to contribute to an article
- Ask them for a quote (subject matter expert)
- Ask for an introduction from one of your shared connections
- Reach out to the salesperson in the company
- Reach out and connect with other people in the business (one up, one down)
- Like, share and let them know you have sent their content to others that will gain value from it.
- Thank them for sharing their insight
- Pay them a compliment- be creative!
Add value to every interaction, treat your online conversations like your offline ones; get to know your prospects. If you learn to communicate effectively in the online world the transition from online to offline will be smooth, and you will make more sales.