When I was young my mother and father would constantly say “don’t stare” or “don’t point”. I always had an interest in watching other people. Some call it being nosey, others call it being intrigued. I’m newer to the Business Development Sales role, but I am not new to observing people. I can just now, finally, put it to good use.
I’ve found that, in order to be successful, I need to be prepared. One time I called someone and their response to me was, “do you even know what our company does?” And I really didn’t know because I wasn’t prepared. I get farther when I take the time to know who I am targeting, what they do and what they like. Prospecting is really comparable to people watching if you are really interested in a partnership.
I have LinkedIn pulled up all day long. As soon as someone accepts my connect invitation, I immediately send them a message. Why? Because they are online at that very moment, and I have a better chance of them reading my message at that time. As I’m writing this, I just scored a Friday sales meeting by using this tactic. Go me! I will also scroll through the home page on LinkedIn and see that some of my prospects are heading to an event, or they recently closed a new deal, or they liked an inspirational video that someone posted. I think to myself ‘my prospects are openly giving me a warm introduction into a conversation with them. I can easily call them and say’ “Hey, I noticed that your company headlined the event last week, my company is interested in attending next year, can you tell me a little about your experience there?” Then of course, easily slide into what my company does, find out what they’re currently doing to gain new business, and boom, I’ve made a connection all due to people watching.
Googling your prospects is also a great way to see what all they do in their community. Not everyone volunteers, or has been awarded for something, but some have! If I was on the phone with a prospect, who I watched for a bit and mentioned that I read that they were awarded for their community service or awarded for their hard work at their job, the prospect would probably feel that I took the time to read up about them and their company and that I was serious. I just people watched myself into being prepared for that call and have a better chance of building a rapport with that prospect.
Prospects are not easy to read for one main reason; They know they are a prospect and that I am working for their business. Let’s get creative and use the resources that are out there to people watch and find out what their wins are, what their company is doing and how to use that to our advantage.
Emily Spaloss, Business Development Manager