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In today’s highly digitized society, it is becoming increasingly difficult for salespeople to reach their customers. When I first started in sales, I knocked door to door, business to business, in office parks and buildings, selling Xerox copiers and then Yellowbook advertising. Often, I would get thrown out of buildings, fed harsh looks and lies from receptionists, and even yelled at about the product or service the former sales representative sold them. Yet in those jobs (and at that time), it was easier to reach folks face to face and build rapport with prospects and customers.
Times have surely changed. Now it is very difficult to get into office buildings without a badge or signing in, and folks rarely answer their phones, if they even have an office line. Gone are the days of calling the main number and being transferred to the person you are trying to reach. Now it seems the main options are the person’s cellphone or email. But how do you get the attention of a prospect (or even a current customer) via email? Inboxes are flooded with automated emails that make it hard to decipher what is real and what is spam. How are you overcoming these challenges? How do you stay top of mind to your customers without bugging them? And how do you not take rejection, or even lack of response, personally?
Even if you’re not walking around office buildings and driving door to door, sales can be lonely, and having folks to share stories with can certainly help increase motivation.
Here are a few tactics that work for me, but I am always open to hearing more. Even if you’re not walking around office buildings and driving door to door, sales can be lonely, and having folks to share stories with can certainly help increase motivation (see tip 4).
Tactics for Success
- Schedule regular follow-up with prospects. If I make it an event on my Outlook calendar, then I am sure to not miss it.
- Follow up when you say you will. This helps build credibility over time and allows you to prove that you are a reliable resource to be trusted.
- Find and attend in-person industry events. This helps you get in front of potential prospects, gets you out of your office (or even your home office, where your only pal to talk to is your dog), and gives you something to talk about with prospects.
- Have a strong network of friends, family, and significant others who understand and support you and your work challenges. This is invaluable to keep motivation and connection levels high. Rejection and lack of response are part of the day-to-day experience in sales, but having strong connections makes dealing with them a bit easier.