Once a business formalizes the sales process, understands future cash flows, and defines its competitive advantage, it is the responsibility of the sales team to utilize the structure to close deals. Salesmen typically face a difficulty justifying the reason for reaching out. Regardless of whether it is an initial cold call or follow up email, the following tools will allow for any salesman, student, or young professional to close deals, stay in touch with their friends, or keep their future opportunities open, respectfully.
My personal sales strategy is divided into two distinct types of communication: proactive and reactive. Both types of communication require a reason: sales-focused versus opportunistic. I conduct research on my prospects prior to every call and email. From Google News to advanced Twitter searches, being up-to-date on news pertaining to the individual, his industry, and his company and its competitors is vital to making a lasting impression.
Referencing a competitor is often a successful strategy to prompting a scheduled sales call or in-person meeting:
Me: Good morning, Mr. Smith. Nan Mione calling from Continental Shelfware.
Prospect: Um. Good morning.
Me: We manufacture a line of retail store fixtures that might be ideal for your Balloon World store. By the way, I noticed an article in Inc. Magazine this month about specialty retailing, and there was a profile on another company in Minneapolis that has been successful in balloon retailing.
Prospect: Oh, really? I missed that one.
Me: Yes. And it made some nice points about what this store had done to make it so successful. Tell you what, I wanted to get together with you anyway to show you our retail point of sale systems. Why don’t I drop by, and I’ll bring along a copy of the article. How does your afternoon look tomorrow?
– A Little Research Makes Better Cold Calls, Inc.com
Staying in touch with a contact for a sale or networking opportunity is difficult. A number of tools make the task of being informed less of a hassle. SalesLoft & JobChangeNotifier both sync with your LinkedIn address book and alert you to any profile updates, birthdays, and other meaningful interactions. Newsle sends updates when any of your friends, family, or colleagues appears in an article online (similar product: Percolate Daily Brew). Being knowledgeable about job changes and press mentions allows for nice periodic emails that act as gentle reminders during your sales process.
As previously discussed, I utilize Pipedrive [affiliate link] to organize my communications for both CNSLT.us’ sales and my professional network. However, there are many other tools that allow for you to track your progress and better manage your network.
FollowUpThen & Boomerang
Even if you religiously check your CRM and make sure all emails receive a response or appropriate follow up, FollowUpThen and Boomerang allow for you to schedule reminders that are delivered as emails within your client.
This Gmail add-on allows for you to learn everything about your email contacts within Gmail. “You can immediately see what people look like, where they’re based, and what they do. You can establish rapport by mentioning shared interests. You can grow your network by connecting on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and more. And you can record thoughts for later by leaving notes. Imagine relationship management built into your email.”
Simply input your sales target’s first name, last name, and email domain (i.e. @CNSLT.us or @Gmail.com) and GuessMail will automatically provide you with a list of possible email contacts. If you import the list into the To: field in a new Gmail, whichever one populates a Rapportive profile (on rollover) is the correct address. Great $5 investment – thanks to Nicola Korzenko for sharing this with the HackingNYC community.
Maintaining your network is vital for success. Continuously expanding your network is just as important. I will address creating inbound sales leads in my next post.