E.M. Forster, in his 1910 novel Howard’s End: “Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.”
As founder and author of The Whale Hunters Process, I believe passionately in the power of the connection. Therefore I am decidedly against cold calls for big deals with big customers. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with your inside sales team dialing for dollars for small sales or managing repeat sales with consistent buyers.
But as an advocate for accelerating your business growth by pursuing bigger deals with bigger customers, I believe you have to get beyond the cold call mindset. Corporate buyers in large companies do not typically accept cold calls; and even if they do, your cold call will mark you as a second-rate provider who is not connected in their industry. Because if you were connected, you wouldn’t have to make a cold call, would you?
So, stop it!
How do you connect the prose and the passion? Once you have identified your ideal target customers and created a rich dossier about their businesses, you will also have access to the names and contact information of key employees.
That’s when it’s time to put your social network to work!
Your job is to find a warm introduction to one or more key employees who are willing to help you navigate their company. And where do you find those people who can make introductions? Primarily they are your LinkedIn or G+ or Twitter connections. If you need to focus on one resource, LinkedIn is the one today.
If you and your key employees actively employ LinkedIn relationships, you will have many people within your sphere of influence and connections who could and would make an introduction for you. The main idea here is that not only should you become an active participant, but that you should also enable your team to build online relationships.
Imagine the difference between you or one of your sales reps making a cold call versus having someone email an influencer who will recommend that they accept a call from you.
Here are the steps you need to take:
Help your team create professional profiles on LinkedIn.
Teach your team how to participate in LinkedIn groups.
Encourage your team to expand their network of relationships appropriate to your industry.
Inform your team of the companies that you want to connect with.
Then, do a meeting or teleconference with your team focused on who among their connections could possibly be a great entry point. This is where your social media selling strategy really pays off. And it’s really easy if you are using Nimble, as I do.
You will only RECEIVE value from your network if you GIVE value to your network. If you are afraid of social media, worried about your employees’ participation, holding close and tight to your industry wisdom, you will be outplayed and outscored by competitors who have built better social networks.
Photo credit: Peddhapati