If there’s one thing I hear all the time from sales reps, it’s “I can’t get a break with this prospect, they never answer the phone or respond to any emails that I send.” Well, let me tell you, this is not a good excuse. Maybe back in 1952 complaining like this was accepted, but in today’s world, if you want to get new customers, you can find out everything you want to about a person and/or company if you just do a little bit of searching. Like I always say, “You’re only as good as the tools you use,” and boy does this hold true in regards to prospecting for new customers.
So here’s the deal — I’m going to share what I call, my secret “submarine prospecting” tips, so that you can implement them into your own daily sales prospecting activities, and teach your sales reps how to use them as well. As with everything I talk about, you never want to be creepy about how you go about your business, so always please take that into account before you just reach out to somebody with some really personal information about them that’s going to freak them out. The idea is to use public information that you find about a prospect, to help you build a personalized portfolio of likes vs. dislikes, before you ever meet them. This way, when you reach out to them, you can add a little personalized touch pertaining to something that they like.
For example, I love the beach, so if a sales rep reaches out to me about attending an event that he or she is hosting, and it’s at the beach, my probability of attending is going to be much higher, compared to them sending me an invite for an event in a freezing cold destination.
Now here’s the kicker, if they hadn’t done any submarine prospecting i.e. searching online to find out personalized public information about me, they’d never know that I was a beach lover. Even better, if they customize any future marketing material to me and it’s related to the beach, sun, and fun, my probability of engaging with that content is through the roof. Typically what happens is that everyone gets the same old marketing piece with the standard stock photo of some guy or girl doing something that the prospect has no interest in, and I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t work very well, so stop doing it if you’re guilty of this. Personalize, personalize, personalize — that is, if you want to have superior results.
Getting new customers comes down to doing the proper research before you reach out to them, that way when you do reach out to them, you’re talking about something that’s exciting and relatable to them. I’m sharing this information to educate you on how the top sales reps write 10x more business than their counterparts — the reason is because they know the tricks and make the most of every outreach communication they send out to their prospects. One rule of thumb to follow, is always be respectful of a persons privacy, no matter what, and like I mentioned above, the idea is not for you to be creepy with the information, it’s for you to be effective, and to use it to form new business relationships and close more business. So here are my submarine prospecting tips.
Do a web search and find out if they’re a member of any buying group. There are tons of buying groups out there, and big companies definitely use them all the time. Look to find out what buying groups serve what markets, as well as what business departments they serve within their market — find out the list of members, attend a few conferences or meetings when they’re open to the public, and get engaged. What better way to start a warm conversation with someone than saying, “Hey, I recently was at the XYZ industry conference and really found the information that was shared very helpful. Did you attend the conference as well? And what did you think about it?” You see what I’m doing here, I’m hitting them with something that they can relate to right off the bat. There’s no asking some bland question about the weather, it’s getting right down to the point. Again, it’s all about being personable here, not creepy.
Find the issues.
Find the challenges in the department they work in i.e. finance, marketing, sales, etc., and directly make them aware of the issue, as well as how you can help them solve it. This is sales 101 type stuff, and it works very effectively, that’s why we’ve been doing it forever. In simple terms, find what’s broken i.e. maybe a law changed or a specific department needs to do XYZ to become compliant, make the prospect aware of it — as they may not already be, and directly address the issue with how your product or service solves it. The more you do behind the scenes research, the more you’ll become the authoritative resource, and the more prospects look at you as the resource they can turn to for answers, the faster they’re going to become your clients. Read up on everything you can, join industry-relevant groups, and dedicate the time needed to learn what you need to learn so that you can be a value-add resource.
Find mutual relationships.
Find people that know the person you want to get in front of, and ask them to give you an introduction i.e. LinkedIn, news outlets. A warm handoff is worth 10x more than a run-of-the-mill cold call. You need to search around and find people that know the people that you want to get in front of, and utilize those relationships to the maximum. This is one reason why it’s so important to take care of every business relationship you have — even further, be sure you’re taking caring of every personal relationship you have as well. You never know who is going to know who, and if you’re a jerk it will eventually catch up with you somewhere down the line. Always be helpful, useful, understanding, and engaging, no matter what. Search the web, check the cc’ line on emails that get sent to you and look to see if you know any of the last names. I assure you, the world is a small place, especially when you use resources like LinkedIn, and the other primary social media channels of choice. If you search hard enough, and you search smart enough, you will find a relationship with someone that can introduce you to whom you want to get an appointment with.
Find them on social media.
See their likes, dislikes, what type of activities they do. Find similarities and be crafty about different ways to reach out to them while relating to their likes. Stay away from comedy, politics, and religion, as sometimes jokes can be taken incorrectly and spiral out of control quickly. Here’s another great idea, “Use Google to search their name!” It sounds so simple, but so many people just overlook the most simplest of places to look. It’s really isn’t that difficult. If you just keep it simple, and look in the obvious places i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google, you’ll find out 90% of what you’re looking for. Like I always say, “We’re not sending a rocket to space here,” don’t make it more difficult than what it really is. It’s simple research just like you did when you were in 5th grade for your research paper you had to write on George Washington.
So there you have them, a few of my insider submarine prospecting tips to get new customers. If you haven’t been able to break into a prospective account, use these methods, they will help you without a doubt. Like I said above, it’s not 1952 anymore and there’s just way too much online information available for you to have any excuses as to why you’re not able to break into an account. You have to work like a champion though — new business isn’t going to just come easy to you — be smart, be effective, use your resources, and you’ll be fine.