How to Attract Sales Prospects in a Tech-Focused World
It’s not 140 characters, it’s you!
There’s nothing like getting the gang together. Salespeople have great combined power and energy when they gather in person and share successes, ideas and information. At conferences, they learn as much through conversations with peers in the hallways as in their sessions. But there’s no “hallway” on the World Wide Web.
Make the Live Connection
The digital world – as great as it is – threatens personal connections. Humans need face-to-face contact with others. Even with whisper-light computing power and immediate, 140-character Twitter posts, we are a face-to-face species, one that thrives on interpersonal communication and being in the presence of like-minded individuals working together to accomplish results. E-mail, texting, social networking – none of that takes the place of an in-person connection.
So if you want to get ahead in your career – and especially if you want to sell – put down the mouse and step away from the computer. Come out from behind the cloak of technology and learn to speak to people, whatever their language.
In an era when companies are canceling sales meetings because they believe webcasts and videoconferences are just as effective, they actually need to do the opposite – schedule more. Since the start of the recession, many companies have slashed business travel budgets by 20 to 40 percent, viewing it as expense rather than what it really is – an investment. Face-to-face meetings aren’t luxuries. Even in our technology-driven world, nothing replaces a handshake and in-person interactions for both building and maintaining business relationships. In fact, 95 percent of business people agree they’re the key to building long-term relationships, according to a Harvard Business Review Reader Poll. And a 13-year study of American businesses by Oxford Economics (released last year) shows that for every dollar spent on business travel, organizations report around $12.50 in increased revenue and $3.80 in new profits.
Win the Numbers Game
Now more than ever, as businesses seek to operate more effectively and efficiently, they are depending on analytics in order to thrive and survive. Firms that recognize the relationship between business travel investments and increased sales, and then act on that knowledge, will see a big impact on the bottom lines.
One of my clients shared with me about a potential deal she was trying to work with a major prospect, but she couldn’t get the decision-makers on the phone. I strongly recommended that she schedule an in-person visit. Fast-forward two months. She not only met with potential buyers, but also got the opportunity to present to 60 people (who were notified the day before) and now has four strategic projects in the pipeline. She called me (elated) to say thank you. The personal visit, she said, sealed the deal.
Last summer I tacked a 60-mile drive onto the end of a vacation to meet with a prospect. That business-development visit resulted in two speaking engagements, which never would have occurred had I not taken the time to visit and build a new, mutually respectful relationship.
You don’t have to hop on an airplane. Drive your car; get on a bus; take a train. Just meet face-to-face with every major client and prospect. You will accelerate your sales process by at least 30 percent, spend less time prospecting (who wouldn’t want that?) and attract more quality clients.
Face-to-face contact will give you the edge over your competitors every time. You make the effort, you win.
Think about it: How have in-person, live connections impacted your sales business? Join the conversation, in the comments below.