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How Not to be the Annoying Sales Professional When Sales Prospecting

If you're fairly active on LinkedIn like me, you likely also get bombarded by daily solicitors.  While LinkedIn can prove valuable in many ways, I have to say that I could completely do without the sales reps that are using it to interrupt my inbox.  Can you relate?  Rather than evolve for the better, many sales reps have chosen to get "craftier" in how they try and get your attention.  For example, today I received an email with the subject line, "you missed your 2 pm appointment- can we reschedule?"  Unsure of what appointment I had missed, I opened the email only to realize it was a sales rep with whom I never had an appointment scheduled, who wanted me to consider their LinkedIn prospecting services.  What was my reaction?  Completely annoyed.  While I am glad that you can show your boss that your open rates are pretty stellar, conversion to appointments is likely extremely low.  I have to wonder, are the hours spent identifying what deceiving subject line will get people to open your email, as well as the countless hours spent sending these emails to the masses only to receive far and few between responses worth it?  I'd much rather spend my time working with those who want my help, then trying to constantly chase down those that don't.  Enter the era of inbound.  If there are three lessons every sales professional should learn from these ineffective sales strategies, it's these:

1) Don't pretend we have a relationship when we don't.  People buy from people they know, they like and they trust.  If your subject line leads me to believe  that we've spoken before and I realize that we haven't, how likely are you to earn my trust?  Need I say anymore?

2) Don't make the first conversation about you.  I've read countless emails that have started with, "I was wondering if you might be interested in [insert sender's products or services here].  Keep in mind that if you're prospecting, I wasn't actively looking to buy.  I need to first become aware of why I should be looking.  Identifying hidden challenges by asking a timely question is a much more effective way of starting a conversation. 

3) Don't send me 100 emails saying that I haven't yet responded to you.  To be honest, but the third email, I have mentally put you on my "never buy from" list. 

Sales prospecting can be challenging.  Particularly given that buyers are more challenging than ever to get in front of.  A majority of sales professionals despise cold calling, but do it either because it is expected of them or because they aren't sure how else to prospect.  Ready to make the shift to inbound sales and book more appointments with prospects than ever before?  Schedule your complimentary 30 minute strategy session today.

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