No one can argue that in retail and consumer sales, location is key. The right location can make or break the success of a new store or restaurant. Why? Because to attract a prospective customer, the business must be easy to find, easy to access and convenient to get to.
The same principle applies to your business location. How does your business footprint, or location, impact your ability to attract new buyers in a B2B world? There are several best practices to improve the likelihood that buyers can find you when they need you.
- Location still matters. Let’s face it, almost every buyer will do an online search when evaluating alternatives or options. If they think your company or product might be a fit, they will try to find out more about you and your company before and after they engage in a conversation with you. How do we make sure our virtual location is easy to find, easy to access and convenient to get to.
Sales professionals can leverage many assets to create their own online presence and footprint. Effective prospecting in an online world involves sharing information that is relevant to your prospects. Are you adding valuable insight and perspective in the places where your prospects are interacting? Find those groups and organizations, and begin to network and participate both online and offline. In doing so and in curating content to your advantage, your virtual location becomes top of mind when the prospect is looking for a provider of your goods or service.
- Assess your online profile. Today, we can assume that anyone we speak to or try to meet will review our background on LinkedIn – the go to source of your virtual, professional location. What does your profile say about you? Is your LinkedIn profile a magnet for a prospect? Does your profile demonstrate that you have credible experience? Does your profile represent the proper level of professionalism that matches that of a prospect? Can someone contact you easily by looking at your profile?
Your LinkedIn profile should not merely be your resume. When viewed, your profile should create a reason for prospects to act and engage. Your title is less important than your role. In other words, what value can you add to a prospect and their business? Do you share content that is relevant to the people you want to sell to? Is it crystal clear what you do and who you do it with? Regular updates and reviews of your online profile is a best practice habit in business development and prospecting!
- Change your objective. The objective of engaging online is to create an opportunity to communicate offline! The purpose of an email, InMail or any other outreach is not to sell but to connect and engage with conversation! Campaigns to gain access to new prospects must include messages about them, not you. Why would they want to meet with you? One message and one mode of communication will not fit everyone. Tailor your messages to your targets, and reach out on a regular basis. A lack of response does not necessarily mean “no.” It might just mean “not now.” Keep at it and continue to nurture with respectful persistence.
- No tricks! I often coach clients on how to build strong and lasting client relationships. To do so, the goal is to become a partner and a trusted advisor – not a vendor or supplier.
Last week my office line rang and I answered it. (Yes, some people still do answer the phone!) Immediately, the caller asked to speak with Dennis. Not working with anyone named Dennis my response was, “You must have the wrong number.” The caller continued, “That’s okay, I am sure you can help me,” and immediately launched into a scripted pitch. I hung up. If you want me to trust you and spend time with you, then treat me with respect. Don't use a gimmick to engage me.
Here is another trick that someone recently used. I was unavailable and my assistant answered my phone. The caller left a message, “Please have her return my call as she is expecting my call today.” No last name, no company name, just an inference that it was social or personal rather than a business call. This is not a game I want to play with someone who purports to add value to my business.
Prospecting was and is one of the hardest aspects of sales. Getting people, who don’t think they need your product or service, to engage with you is a challenge. Yet, people do it every day with success. Why do some people struggle while others succeed, even having potential clients reaching out to them? Discipline, persistence, targeted messaging and staying connected to your prospects’ interests are key elements to improve the likelihood that buyers will find you when they need you. Implementing these best practices creates a strong professional footprint that is easy to find, easy to access, and convenient to get to – the location, location, location trifecta that can lead to increased sales calls.
Good luck and good selling!