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Jul 6, 201710:51 AM#SocialBiz

with Spencer X. Smith

This sales mistake will leave your prospects uninterested in you and your product

(page 1 of 2)

I got an email this week from a salesperson who wants me to do business with his company. In it, he made two major sales mistakes.

1.) He started with the subject line of “Checking in.”

2.) After I responded and said my timeline was at least 120 days, he said, “OK, I’ll follow up in four months.”

The second mistake is much less obvious. From the salesperson’s perspective, he was doing me a service by promising not to bother me until it was time to make a decision. However, from my perspective he just made himself into a commodity.

Guess who’s guilty of these same mistakes in the past? Me. Many, many times. Here’s what I’ve learned after being guilty of these errors over many years.

The person you are pitching on any business has a decision process that starts before you make your first pitch and ends when they decide to buy (or not buy). Too many salespeople miss the opportunity to stay connected to their prospects by leveraging social media to provide value during the waiting period.

The person you are pitching continues to live their life while they evaluate your product. That life probably includes research about their company’s needs related to your product, it often includes presentations to decision-makers higher up in the company, and it hopefully includes some personal trips, milestones, and celebrations.

Social media and email give you the ability to participate in that person’s life and become a resource to them — instead of a nuisance — during that decision-making process. If you don’t, you’ll become “just another salesperson” in their mind.

You can save your prospect time during their due diligence effort after your pitch by sending them resources related to your product. Does your organization have white papers explaining the rules, regulations, and challenges of your industry? (If you don’t, you should collaborate with your marketing team to create them.) Have you read an article in a trade publication that made the case for investing in your service or type of product? Send these resources via email to your prospect, giving them useful information and giving them the opportunity to look good by sharing useful resources with their peers and bosses.

You can also continue to stay top of mind with your prospects by interacting with them in ways that have nothing to do with your product.

Like I wrote in this space a few weeks ago, social media provides you invaluable business intelligence about your prospects. By scanning a company’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages, you can tell what initiatives they’re trying to promote, and you can often read into what challenges they are facing. You might have some insight or another useful white paper about a business challenge they’re facing. You can often glean a few personal details, too — birthdays, weddings, childbirth, business trips. If this information has been shared publicly on a social network, it’s fair game for you to take action on that information.

If a prospect is traveling to a city that you are familiar with, offer them a restaurant recommendation. If they’ve celebrated a major personal milestone, send them a snail-mail card offering your congratulations.

Of course, it should go without saying that the content you share CANNOT be another self-promotional sales pitch. You’ve already made your pitch. Now you have an opportunity to add value.

(Continued)

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About This Blog

Spencer Smith is the founder of Spencer X. Smith Consulting, and principal of the Cobalt Companies, a real estate investment firm he started in 2000. Spencer is also an instructor at the University of Wisconsin, where he teaches classes on Business Plans, Lean Business Tools, Internet Marketing & Strategy, and Teaching-Based Marketing. Spencer has been featured and quoted in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Money Magazine, Yahoo Small Business Advisor, MSN Money, and dozens of other publications.

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