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From the Desk of Steve Staccato

How Top Salespeople Use LinkedIn to Attain Prospecting Success

Posted by Steve Staccato

Oct 16, 2014 10:00:00 AM

How Top Salespeople Use LinkedIn to Attain Prospecting Success

LinkedIn, arguably the most viewed social network for business professionals, is often falsely seen as simply a place to hunt for jobs. However, savvy sales teams, especially those in the B2B industry, are increasingly using LinkedIn for sales prospecting. If you want to make prospecting a faster, smoother and more profitable process, learn how top salespeople use LinkedIn to attain prospecting success.

Warm up cold calls - You can usually learn enough about a prospect on LinkedIn to make your first sales call more relevant and useful. In particular, pay attention to profile changes, status updates, shared connections and anything posted to a group. It’s easy to open a call with a reference to info gleaned from LinkedIn. It breaks the ice and proves you’ve done the research.

Capitalize on InMail - LinkedIn users with paid accounts can access InMail, the site’s internal email system. It allows you to email any LinkedIn user, no introduction required, ensuring your message reaches the decision maker without having to jump through corporate hoops. 

LinkedIn claims executives are 30 times more likely to respond to InMail messages than cold calls. Here's the catch: Entry-level business accounts are allotted only three InMails a month, so save them for the big fish.

Search smarter - LinkedIn’s advanced search tool lets you filter a search by company, title, location or keyword. Paid accounts can also filter by company size and title. For example, you can search "Chief Executive Officer" in the software industry within 100 miles of San Francisco. Then, a useful reporting feature sends you a weekly email detailing any new LinkedIn user that meets that criteria. 

Make your profile work harder - The above suggestions are all outbound activities, but don’t ignore the potential for inbound contacts. If a prospect is interested in your product or service, he or she will likely look up your profile. Make sure it’s 100 percent complete and gives a professional impression of your company. Include current links to your website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, recommendations from satisfied customers and a professional headshot.

For more tips on sales prospecting with LinkedIn, please contact FRONTLINE Selling™ today.

  


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Topics: Prospecting Tips, Sales Tips, LinkedIn

Once Upon a Time: The Importance of Storytelling In Sales

Posted by Steve Staccato

Oct 8, 2014 9:30:00 AM

Using Storytelling in Sales

Storytelling is one of the most powerful sales tools for getting your prospect’s attention and drawing out their pain points and business needs. That’s because good stories are inherently memorable, allowing you, the storyteller, to differentiate yourself while helping prospects comprehend and relate to your company/brand, products and/or services. Stories are effective “pull” techniques, which can both surprise (gain attention) and build emotional rapport with your prospect.

Conventional "push" sales tactics rely upon presenting research and results and making product claims. There is no emphasis placed on relating to the potential client, who may feel alienated or turned off by the barrage of information. Storytelling, a "pull" marketing method, engages the audience, setting off a two-way exchange of information. Effective storytelling is authentic and based on life experiences and observations, which is much more palatable than viewing numerous charts and figures.

How To Craft an Engaging Story

  • Start with the outcome in mind, with what you'd like the prospect to do.
  • Create strong characters to sell the story, using yourself, your current satisfied clients (dramatize your case studies) or someone your audience can identify with.
  • Reveal the goals of your characters and explain what they're trying to achieve.
  • Describe the obstacles and mistakes your characters have overcome. Reveal what they tried before finding your solution that may not have worked as well.

Using Storytelling to Identify Pain Points

Storytelling works both ways in a sales conversation. Open-ended, conversational questions help you to facilitate conversation and elicit your prospect’s stories. It's an excellent way to learn your potential client’s problems and identify what solutions they’re looking for. To learn about their goals, try asking, "Ideally, in a perfect world, what would your company look like?" Uncover pain points by asking, "What hurdles are standing in the path of your business success?” 

While you learn about your prospect’s needs, you can also help them “sell themselves” on the need for your solution. Bring up the high-stakes nature of continuing with pain points unsolved by asking, ”If those obstacles aren't addressed, what could happen?" Now position your product/service/brand as the answer to their problems.

Learn more about this and other innovative, effective sales tools and tactics — contact FRONTLINE Selling today.

  


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Topics: Prospecting Tips, Sales Tips, Listening Tips, Storytelling

3 Reasons Appointment Setting is Well Worth the Effort

Posted by Steve Staccato

Oct 7, 2014 9:30:00 AM

Appointment setting is worth the effort

The goal of any inside sales team is to talk to prospects who are genuinely interested in their products and services. Effectively setting 20 to 30 minute appointments with key decision makers provides that opportunity and paves the way to success. This is done by talking to the right people in a very organized and top-down manner. Oftentimes, though, eager salespeople excited that the key player picked up the phone, launch into their sales pitch as soon as the call is answered, bypassing this process.

Why wait and make an appointment when you have the person you wish to speak to on the line? Here are our top three reasons why you should incorporate appointment setting into your prospecting process:

  1. You make an ally out of the admin. Reaching the decision maker on the first attempt almost never happens. In most cases, you must get by the gatekeeper (by making him/her your tour guide!). The admin can help you schedule an appointment, giving you the chance to discuss your product or service with the person in charge at a convenient time for them. Admins hold the keys to the kingdom. Starting off on the right foot with them will better your chances at getting the opportunities you desire. 
  2. It gives the decision maker time to prepare for your appointment. If you spring a sales pitch on an unsuspecting decision maker, chances are good they will blow you off. When given the chance to anticipate your meeting, however, the decision maker has time to consider how your product or service could actually benefit them before they even sit down with you, thus improving your sales odds.
  3. It helps you determine promising leads. A relatively interested decision maker is more likely to let you set an appointment with them. In this way, appointment setting helps your business save time and money by allowing you to focus your time and energy only on companies that are most likely to purchase your product or service.

At FRONTLINE Selling™, we help our clients get more first appointments with genuinely interested leads so you can sell more. We have been in business for a decade and guarantee game-changing results for your company. To learn more about finding people who are interested in buying your product or service through appointment setting, please contact us today. 

  


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Topics: Prospecting Tips, first sales appointments, management, sales

The Art and Science of Building Rapport

Posted by Cherie Stowe

Oct 1, 2014 11:30:00 AM

Building rapport

Rapport is the ability to enter someone else's world, to make him feel that you understand him, that you have a strong common bond.

–Tony Robbins, Motivational Speaker

 

Rapport is about highlighting common interests and establishing a mutual feeling of friendliness. When we like each other – whether in business, socially or both – we are more willing to help each other.

Match Your Prospect’s Way of Speaking

Pay attention to how your prospect prefers to communicate. Does your prospect prefer to get right down to business or warm up by engaging in small talk? If you're speaking to someone who talks fast, adjust your pace a little. If your prospect sounds relaxed, slow down a bit and be willing to shoot the breeze.

Changing your tone and pacing doesn't mean that you're not being genuine; it means you're good at making other people feel comfortable.

Find Common Points of Interest

If you have something in common with your prospect, mention it. When your prospect discovers that you both know the same person, went to the same school, vacationed in the same place, or belonged to the same organization, they realize that you are alike in some ways. It's easier to do business with someone who is like you.

Social media has opened things up for sales professionals. Before you hop on the phone, do a little research. You should be looking for their public social profiles, and seeing what you can learn.

Everyone likes to be complimented. When you sincerely compliment your prospect or his/her company, you communicate that you are interested, that you have noticed something they do that stands out, and that you aren't afraid to share a compliment – all good things.

Trust

Trust builds rapport. Your prospects (and customers) will learn to trust you if you do what you say. Keep your commitments, call when you say you will, respect their time when you talk, and always follow through. Don’t make promises you might not be able to keep.

Another way to build trust is to demonstrate that you're interested in their success. Know and appreciate their needs beyond your product. See what you can do to help them meet those needs. Little things like finding information for them or putting them in touch with other suppliers tend to make a big difference.

Show You Understand Their Pain Points

No matter how much you bond about the weather, kids, your shared alma mater — how much you really care will ultimately come down to your ability to show you understand their pain points and want to help.

To extend and strengthen the initial rapport, transition to a conversation that demonstrates you're committed to understanding their pain points and helping them find a solution. You may think this is just valuable to advance the conversation toward the close, but it's more than that -- you're engendering trust by investing time understanding their problem and identifying solutions.

Practice

Some people are naturals at building rapport, and for others, it's a learned skill. The most important part is making it feel and sound natural. If you just bond about the weather for 15 seconds, it's pretty obvious what you're doing, and your good intentions may be wiped away. Instead, have an earnest conversation.

Once you've gotten good at finding ways to open up the conversation, transition to a business conversation. Remember, even if you forge a strong personal bond with a prospect, they still have business needs for you to address.

 

 

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Topics: Prospecting Tips, Sales Meetings, Sales Calls, management, sales, rapport

CEB Sales & Marketing Summit 2014: Join Us in Vegas, Baby!

Posted by Steve Staccato

Sep 25, 2014 10:00:00 AM

CEB Sales and Marketing Summit 2014

 

FRONTLINE Selling™ is proud to announce its sponsorship of this year's CEB Sales and Marketing Summit 2014 in Las Vegas. 

In line with our mission, CEB's purpose is to give sales and marketing professionals insights, ideas and tools to solve industry-specific challenges. 

Join FRONTLINE Selling™ and more than 600 of your peers October 21-23 for enlightening presentations, breakout sessions and networking events to be held at the beautiful Aria Resort and Casino

Don't miss our breakfast roundtable discussion on October 22 hosted by our very own CEO, Mike Scher, titled "Prospecting: Mind the Gap" It's guaranteed to be an eye-opening conversation and a great way to start your day of enrichment. 

 

Other speakers slated to appear include:

  • Brent Adamson, Managing Director of Executive Advisory Services at CEB and coauthor of the book The Challenger Sale
  • Tali Sharot, Director of the Affective Brain Lab
  • Steve DeMarco, VP of World-wide Sales at Xactly
  • Scott McNabb, VP of Sales, Marketing, Cloud for the Eastern U.S. at Oracle
  • Many more

To find more detailed information about the lineup and accommodations for the event, visit the CEB Sales and Marketing Summit website. We would love to see you there! Be sure to sign up for our roundtable discussion or stop by our kiosk and say hello.

 

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Topics: Events, management, sales, CEB Sales and Marketing Summit 2014

 

Meet Steve Staccato
WB-Steve_Sitting_2

We are excited to introduce Steve Staccato, a very special friend of FRONTLINE Selling. 

He's a little prospecting genius and he'll share some prospecting tips, techniques and trends, not to mention other great information here on our blog.

So, stay tuned . . . you just never know what Steve has up his sleeve.  Oops, you're right.  Steve doesn't have any sleeves!

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