Most of my sales tips are about lead-generation, but generating leads is only the first part of making a sale.
One of the more common challenges I'm asked about is what to do with a lead once you have it. In other words, how to "work" the lead?
This is especially true when it comes to selling to a large or mid-sized company where you have to work your way through a "middle man" before reaching the real decision maker, if you even get to reach him at all. Or even in the case of a small business, like a doctor's office, where you're pretty much stuck meeting with an office manager.
In my experiences sitting on the other side of the table, as a business owner and therefore a prospect, my biggest gripe about most salespeople is this: They're too stiff. Too business-like. Unable to loosen up and just be a normal person.
For some reason, when I'm approached by a salesperson to buy a particular business product or service and I say, "I'm with a friend on that one," they're flabbergasted.
They know that if a prospect is getting a service from a friend, it's just about impossible to break that relationship and get the business.
And that's exactly why you need to become the friend.
It's no surprise that the most successful people I know also happen to be the most well-connected. They have lots of friends, and especially in the business community.
Then there's also the challenge of the situation where you're stuck dealing with a go-between who will present the various proposals to the ultimate decision maker, who is off-limits to sales reps.
Whenever you make an initial contact, whether that contact is a receptionist, an office manager, or even the decision maker, befriend that person. And the best way to make that happen is to friend them on Facebook.
Most people will accept. And once you're Facebook friends, "like" the person's posts now and then. Leave nice comments on photos, especially of things close to their heart like kids and pets.
Before you know it, you'll be friends both online and off. And by doing that, you will defeat all of your competitors by this method of coming in under the radar.
(Whatever you do, DO NOT send a stiff message like, "It was great meeting, I look forward to...." blah blah blah. Friends don't talk like that.)
When you befriend someone, you're no longer seen as a salesperson. You're now a friend - someone who is liked. And then you automatically win.
People buy from those they like. That's why so many of us do business with our friends, whenever that is possible. And by making friends and expanding your social network, you're also going to grow your book of business by leaps and bounds.
(And your personal life too, an added bonus!)
If your new friend is the go-between, you'll get the favorable nod when that person presents to the decision maker. And if you've befriended the decision maker him or herself, you'll not only up your chances of getting the sale, but will enjoy lots of referrals with it.
In summary, don't be the stiff, inhuman sales rep. Be the friend. Befriend your business contacts on Facebook and begin interacting, and you'll not only get tons of sales, but will build real, genuine friendships in the process, something far more rewarding than just sales.
I mentioned in the beginning of this article that lead-generation is only part of a sale.
However, it is the critical first step, and without a lead or a first contact, a sale can never happen.
So do this right now: Begin looking up your prospects and contacts on Facebook and friending them. Doing so will bring you closer to your prime prospects, thereby generating an endless supply of hot leads, and when you accomplish that, you'll become unstoppable.
If you're not up to speed on modern, Information Age lead-generation methods, learn how you can stop cold calling forever and become a sales rock star by downloading a 37-page PDF preview of the Never Cold Call Again System here.
New York Times best-selling author Frank Rumbauskas is the creator of the Never Cold Call Again® System and has won numerous accolades, such as Readers Choice for Business Book of the Year from 800-CEO-READ, and has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Influential People. To learn more, and to download a free 37-page PDF preview of his Never Cold Call Again lead-generation system, visit NeverColdCall.com