Are you stuck in a rut – or like a hamster on a wheel – trying to reach out to prospective buyers? I thought, if you are like me, you do some of the same things over and over – even if they don’t work well. Is that you? Why not mix it up and try something different? Although I spend my days helping companies with sales leadership, we are regularly asked about new ideas, or different ideas to reach prospective new customers. Sales is hard. Approach it like solving a puzzle. Below are 30 ways to reach prospects to assist you or those on your sales team reach B2B decision makers, influencers, and strategic partners. Not all of these work for all situations, so please view in the framework of looking for some that might be helpful in your world. All I ask is that you be open minded – the best sellers are.
Here are some “discussion starter” ideas. We can go deeper into anyone of them in a future post or reach out to me via the Score More Sales website. Let me know what works for you!
- Clearer voice-mail messages stating the purpose of your call – a purpose that serves your buyer, not you.
- Voice-mail message (when you know you’re reaching a decision maker) conveying that their company falls into your company’s “sweet spot” (if it does), and then let them know why. Often when business people know you know the market, they are more apt to talk. Don’t be afraid to let them know that you feel they could be a great prospective client / customer based on work with their industry counterparts.
- To reach a C-level executive, call before 8AM or after 5PM.
- To reach someone who spends a lot of time on conference calls and phone meetings, try 5-10 minutes before the hour.
- Get an external executive referral to an executive. (highly reputable person outside of their company)that you’d reach them – this gives some internal leverage. You can also say that you told the exec (if you did) that you would follow-up after you reached them.
- Get an internal referral to an executive. (there are more than 6 people on a customer buying team for a complex sale. Start working your way around the company – eventually someone will refer you to the top DM.)
- When you have an internal referral (higher up person to lower person), and you don’t get a return call, let that person you were referred to know that you promised (the higher up person) that you’d reach them – this gives some internal leverage. You can also say that you told the exec (if you did) that you would follow-up after you reached them.
- If you leave multiple voice mails over time, convey a tone and words that it is not a big deal. This is your job to reach them.
- Start making better notes in your CRM and know what your next action is – then set it. Record anything about external triggers or internal factors you’ve heard about. If you make a lot of contacts every day, it’s impossible to remember everything so better notes are your top help.
- Be somewhat vague or mysterious. “I’m calling about Marriott” – if Marriott is one of your past or current clients and this prospect is in the hospitality industry. Mystery elicits curiosity. Curiosity gets action. Do I always recommend you’re mysterious? No. This is a list of other things to try to move someone from darkness to response.
- Gain social knowledge – monitor your buyer’s company Twitter, LinkedIn business page, Instagram and Facebook business page if they have them. This is where they celebrate awards, recognize employees, social projects, and more. A simple reference to one of these things separates you from 90% of other reps vying for their attention.
- Find triggers that affect your prospects, and tie them into your messaging. Think about their role, their industry, and / or their company.
- Title call block: Get names and titles confirmed for those you are calling and make a call block just talking to those in a similar role. Confirm their role and call – it can be a very quick two step process to connecting to people, rather than long research times and long time crafting emails. CALL.
- Reference a common point between you and your buyer, or your company and their company. Example: One of their Board members is also with a company that is a client of yours.
- Be persistent and follow-up. Most sellers don’t follow-up enough. Doing just this one thing will grow opportunities.
- Have a series of 3 voice mail messages to leave – mix it up. They should cover different points of value to the buyer. In other words, do not keep leaving the same email every time. You can improve your odds just by doing this.
- Do the same with e-mail messages. Stop forwarding the same one, with the, “Did you see this??” added to it.
- Offer a different message for the different buyers and recommenders in the company – an executive buys for different reasons than a mid-level manager or a user does. Does your messaging reflect that?
- Have a multi-faceted approach to reaching buyers – between voice mail, e-mail, direct conversation, Twitter, and/or a handwritten note when applicable.
- Use Twitter for research – even if you are not “on” Twitter. You will be amazed at the searches you can do there. (and get ON Twitter, ok?)
- If your company won’t pay for Sales Navigator, you invest in it if one new deal will more than pay for the annual investment.
- Build up your LinkedIn connections for better referral opportunities and do a better job of reviewing potential connectors. Also ask them how you can help them. Don’t be that person who only reaches out when you need something from them.
- Add value by tying context and content to your prospects. You can do this by referencing ideas that would be helpful to your buyers right in email and voice mail messaging.
- Set specific times to prospect, and set goals for accomplishments. I always had contests with myself, regardless of whatever management contest there may be going on. Don’t wait for management to incent you.
- Befriend administrative assistants rather than trying to go around them. These folks set (and sometimes own) their boss’s calendar- ask them to help you, but also give them an understanding of the great value you bring for their boss. They nearly always pass through what they think would be valuable.
- When you have someone on the phone, get agreement on a next action – this keeps the opportunity moving forward.
- Use Google Alerts at the very least, and research tools to know when specific industry terms are surfacing – this gives you content to talk with buyers about, also can give you more understanding about their (and your) business. Always focus on industry, role, and company triggers.
- Instead of calling, then doing some research, then another call, then research – work in time blocks. Calling or creating emails in time blocks keeps momentum going while research slows you down.
- Start the day prepared! At the end of the day before, create a call list / do list for the next day. Have a coffee or tea in the morning AFTER you make 5 or 10 calls – productivity will go UP.
- Sound and feel successful. Today IS going to be that day for you. If you sound shaky on the phone, people can hear it. If you don’t like to use the phone, get more comfortable with it. As much as you can do online, there are times you must pick up the phone and connect directly with your buyers. It is quicker and easier than back and forth emails. Work on your tone, your words, and how you carry yourself. You got this!
Lori Richardson founded and leads Score More Sales – a sales strategy firm for mid-market companies who want to fix sales team issues. Score More Sales is the official Media Partner for the 3rd Annual Sales Team Accelerator Retreat: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange. Lori launched Women Sales Pros six years ago, an organization working to get more women into B2B sales and sales leadership roles. Lori had a 15 year career in tech and financial services including sales and sales leadership roles with companies like Apple and Thomson Reuters.
She was named one of LinkedIn’s “Top Voices in Sales” in 2018 and received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” for her work with women in sales with AA-ISP in 2019. Her book, “She Sells – Attract, Promote, and Retain Great Women in Sales” will be available in November.