I have been sales prospecting for leads since I was knee-high to a duck. From an early age, I was always networking, pitching, etc. I like to think it was my father’s influence in car sales that had something to do with that!
It wasn’t a surprise when I began my own career in sales, but I wanted to be different. I wanted to do something that no one else in my industry was doing. Your standard sales tactics — door knocking, cold calls and referrals — had success, but were limited.
I was internally motivated, and extremely competitive — seeking a solution to get me to the top! I had found it — LinkedIn.
No more cold calls, random door knocking, walking up and down floors in an office building just to get to one person. I finally understood an old adage my father had once said: “Work smarter and not harder.“
Dead or Dying?
The biggest obstacle for a new salesperson, or “green pea,” is the phone call. As humans, we seek out interaction and engagement. However, new salespeople or some salespeople just hate the phone. Phone calls used to be a useful tool, but with the incorporation of “gatekeepers” (AI software, screener voice prompts, etc.), you end up on a dead phone line or leaving a voicemail that never gets returned.
Door knocking is also a thing of the past. There’s nothing worse than unexpectedly walking into a prospect’s office only to receive an “out to lunch” from the front office or the constant “time checks” if you get past the secretary. So what’s the new way to sell?
Social Media Prospecting = Success
LinkedIn welcomed me prospecting digitally and to the 21st century. Although I was at first hesitant about using it as a sales tactic, I discovered that it opened up a whole new approach for me. Using LinkedIn as a prospecting tool made me an instant success overnight. Not only was I filling venues and closing multimillion-dollar deals, but I was having fun doing it! I could now get past the gatekeeper with ease, just by mentioning the prospect’s first name like I had known him or her for years. I found my prospecting was more efficient and strategic using LinkedIn; I even took it with me on the go. I was ready to rock ‘n roll! I was meeting with key decision makers and reducing my sales cycle time down to next to nothing. I found the holy grail of sales! LinkedIn provided me tools I had never had access to before.
- Prospect contact information — I was able to find the right person immediately and not waste time trying to Google search who I thought might be the best contact.
- Company demographics — I could now strategically target my proposals and pitches to better align with a company’s goals and values.
- One location — I said goodbye to my days of hunting on multiple sites trying to find the most recent contact information.
- Instant connectivity — I now had a way to instantly follow up and connect with clients for fast, easy communication.
My advice: Use LinkedIn as a primary tool in your arsenal. Don’t be hesitant to switch for the old way of thinking. No more lead lists, cold calls or door knocking to hopefully find the right person. With LinkedIn, I learned to be tech-savvy, efficient and multiply my sales!
Are you ready to take your sales tactics to the next level? Join me at ASBA’s Mindshare – The LinkedIn Social Media Connection to learn how you can best utilize the digital platform for your business. Register at http://asba.com/events.
For more information regarding ASBA, please visit www.ASBA.com.
Ryan Reyes, MBA, is the director of Strategic Partnerships & Initiatives with the Arizona Small Business Association.