The “old days” when we just showed up on someone’s doorstep or dropped into their inbox or voicemail weren’t really all that long ago, were they?
The reality is these time-tested cold calling methods were already losing their effectiveness before the pandemic shutdown sent everyone home from the office. Still, changes in prospect behavior have accelerated, given the trials of the last six months. And, those trends are likely to result in permanent changes in how B2B sales are conducted.
5 Sales Trends to Observe
1. Personalizing Your Valid Business Reason
Everyone is inundated with unsolicited emails, phone calls, LinkedIn connection requests, and even snail mail approaches.
It’s not that any of these approach media are wrong. The problem is most approach language is boilerplate, and therefore easily ignored by your prospect.
If you want to capture the attention of someone who doesn’t know you, take a few minutes to personalize your Valid Business Reason for requesting a live conversation.
- Do your homework.
- What does this person do?
- What are their job responsibilities? (All this is probably on their LinkedIn profile.)
- What do you know about their company’s market right now? (A few minutes on Google can get you a ton of useful information here.)
- What have you observed about their particular company? (Again, a few focused searches and setting Google alerts for future news will help you.)
When you craft your Valid Business Reason, could it be used for another prospect as well? If so, throw it out and start over. If not, you’re getting close!
2. Keeping it Personal Through Multiple Media Approaches
We have incredible technology at our fingertips, and most of the world’s information is organized in one place. But people still want to buy from people. So, what can you do to help this stranger get to know you?
- Asking for a connection on LinkedIn is a good first step, but not enough. Do you have quotes from your clients about how you have solved problems for them? If so, send them along. If not, get some.
- You have a camera on your phone, right? Make a short video introducing yourself and repeating your personalized Valid Business Reason. They get to see your face, hear your voice, and pick up on your conviction for helping them solve problems or take advantage of opportunities.
- Free services like Vidyard.com allow you to record and attach your video so it can be watched at any time the prospect would like.
- You could even resort to a hand-written letter you put in the mail.
Whatever you do, you need to be persistent and use multiple media for your approach. We recommend seven contacts in a ten-day period, but again, if you don’t sound like everyone else because you clearly know about the prospect’s business, you are not stalking. Most prospects will thank you for not giving up.
3. Not Over-Relying on Presentation Skills
You can be slick and smooth, but if your proposal doesn’t address a pressing need in your prospect’s business, it won’t make a difference.
- Do you really know what the desired business results are for this prospect? If not, go back to your discovery work and find that out before you present a proposal.
- Is the solution in your proposal one that zeroes right in on that need? Again, if your proposal could be used for another prospect you are not there yet.
By the way, when you do present, keep the conversation based on the needs you agreed should be addressed and how your tailored solution addressed those.
You can put all your wonderful product features and data in the appendix, and they can look at if they would like.
4. The Days of Relying on One Source of Leads Are Over
You should be looking for leads every day but using multiple methods. Of course, you can scour competitive spending data, but go beyond that.
Have your nose in the news for changes among those prospects that are hot categories for you. Changes (good or bad) are actually good because they provide a catalyst for someone being open to tailored approach.
Also, ask your current customers for leads or recommendations. They know the value of what you do.
In the old days we called this “asking for referrals”. In the new days we call this “asking for renewals”. The difference these days you should actually do it!
5. Getting Prospects to Knock on Your Door
Now, wouldn’t that be nice? It can be done.
Today it’s called “content marketing” and it simply means you publish or share relevant information about the market, about trends in the industries you call on, or about changes that are happening out there right now.
When you publish on LinkedIn or Twitter, for example, others will like your post, share your post, and some will interact with you and can nurture them to become prospects. The good news is you don’t have to write all this content. Much of it you can share or repost from others with your commentary.
After a while you become better known as a thought leader which could result in someone asking you for an appointment, or at the very least make you less of a stranger when you approach.
Accelerate Sales Based on New Trends
What works in sales these days is a combination of universal truths about why people buy modified by the reality of how we communicate in the new environment.
Accept the accelerated changes out there, adapt your approach, and accelerate your work based on the new trends. You’ll find yourself busier and more successful than ever.