How do you meet new clients when you can’t be in person? This is the question I am asked often. Standard sales methodology would tell you to call, email, and “pop-in” into the client's office. They are all approaches that worked in the past but the workforce is changing, and by extension, buyers are too. Data shows that by 2025, Gen-Z workers will make up 27% of the workforce.
What does this mean for the way we used to prospect? If we’re requiring buyers to connect with us, we need to be meeting and talking to them where they are, not where we are.
Meet your clients where they want to be met.
3 Top Performing Prospecting Approaches
Approaching our clients is about meeting them in the mediums they want to be connected with. This also means changing the message. Becoming humble in the approach. Asking for advice or what the person may be interested in more than proving how smart you are or how much you know about the industry.
There is a fine line between showcasing your intelligence and coming across as arrogant.
For all approaches to work, you need to be genuinely interested in the other person and ask yourself what you would need to know about the person first before pitching them a solution. List these out as questions and then start with getting to know the other person.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood - Stephen Covey
1. LinkedIn Direct Messaging
We could easily include email as a part of this, but this isn’t the way you were trained how to write emails, assuming you were ever trained on a proper sales email. These must be concise and directed by questions.
For most of us we have begun to use our LinkedIn Inbox as a secondary email, but tailored to the people who want to connect with us first, then we provide permission for them to email further. Decision-makers are not making it their goal to get to “Inbox Zero” and assuming your approach is interesting enough, the person may check out your profile giving your credibility to your introduction and bridging to the conversation.
The goal is to keep the message to less than 400 characters for the best response. This means you will need to get tight with your messaging. This is the equivalent of fewer than two tweets!
For extra engagement consider including a few questions to encourage a response. Questions are naturally responded to. InMails that have 1-3 questions will gain the greatest response. But instead of going for meaningful open-ended questions, which are great in the sales conversation, make it your goal to get the quick response, and pose with a close-ended “yes” or “no” question.
2. Text Message
When more people moved to home offices it was the last moment that was needed to kill off desk phones and landlines. In 2018 mobile usage surpassed desktop as the primary method for accessing the internet and 70% of employees keep their phone within “eye contact”. We’re a mobile-first society.
We’ve socially accepted text messaging as a form of communication, are you using it as a method to ask for the meeting?
We’re seeing fewer people pick up the phone (see more with the methods that are dying). And out of that, a percentage will continue to ignore their voicemails, even if they are left. Most people, like me, will only check the voicemail to remove the voicemail icon. But now I’m just asking people to text.
Keep your text message request simple: Hi Samantha, are you available at 2 pm?
Less is more, and you’ll see more connections responding back to you.
There was an old saying that the medium was more important than the message. This was one of the primary reasons why news on TV was watched, and believed, more than news from a paper. The TV method made it entertaining and when combined with the approach that “seeing is believing” we could now buy into the message they were wanting us to embrace.
The medium is the message has never been more true. With only a profile photo more clients are wanting to connect with us on a personal level. Use your video to share who you are, what you do, or make it entertaining.
Video messages that are less than 15 seconds receive the highest watch rate.
71% of sales pros agree that video email outperforms text-based email.
Use video in social media status, direct messaging, email, and text message. Let people know who you are. It’s not going away.
2 Prospecting Methods That Are Quickly Dying
As virtual selling takes over as a primary selling methodology, prospecting will change too. Don’t waste your time on activities that aren’t providing the return on investment you would expect with your time.
1. Cold Calling
Since the pandemic started in 2020 we saw an increase in the average number of dials we made to our prospect. Did it translate to more connections? The exact opposite! On average we say fewer connected calls to an average of about 11%.
There is great value in the phone call after the buyer has shown interest in the product, but as a method to generate interest or to connect for the first time, more buyers are using social media as their first interaction. That’s time better spent.
Remote work is here to stay. More companies are considering or have implemented partial or full work from home programs. The pop-in as a way to connect with clients is just not effective anymore.
Furthermore considering the amount of time it takes to commute to a location, that’s time wasted that could easily connect with far more prospects in online methods.
Don’t waste your time on one when you could easily connect with tens or hundreds. Be more effective with your time.
Sales is changing. Are you set up for the future of work?
What are some other ways prospecting has changed or will stay the same?