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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

When I first started selling I was given a computer printer out, elephant toilet paper, it was called in those days. “Here you go” Renata, the Marketing person said, “call this”.

I was talking to one of our customers today, who are in the process of implementing a social selling program, he is a sales leader and he started prospecting in his career the same way. Of course in those days Linkedin didn’t exist, neither did the internet or email. Your only tool was the telephone and you used this to move around a company.

There was a whole industry built up on hints and tips on how to manipulate your way to the decision maker. Call at 08:00 AM as the gatekeepers won’t have arrived in work yet. Call the sales department and then get one of the salespeople to put you through as an internal call. Etc etc. The thing was you had to do this all within prime selling time (PST). Even Jeb Blount the author of “Fanatical Prospecting” talks about blocking out time in your day for prospecting.

While talking to another one of our clients recently, he said to me “I do all my prospecting at night”.

The world has changed since Jeb’s book, so while blocking out time for prospecting and a prosecuting culture is great counsel, in the world of social, you can do prospecting 24 hours a day. And for global companies like ours, in fact every minutes of the day clients are awake and asleep.

The World Has Changed and PST is 24 Hours a day

I’m not saying you need to work 24 hours a day, it’s just that the use for social media means we are able to manage our time and manage the time we spend prospecting. And of course there are no gate keepers on social, so you are able to get straight through to people. Here are some tips before you start being chief spammer.

  1. Buyer Centric Profile – You need to update your Linkedin profile, don’t forget while you may be the nicest person in the world if you approach me and you look like a spammer, then you will be treated like one. Think about who your buyer is, what are their needs, wants and how they think. Nobody wakes up in the morning and says “first thing I want to do today is talk to a quota crushing salesperson”. Buyers are looking for an expert, somebody can help and guide them. Somebody they can trust, somebody that has an opinion about the things that matter to that buyer. Not a corporate robot. Make sure your LinkedIn profile appeals to buyers and as well as getting a response when you approach them, you will start to get inbound.
  2. Share Relevant Content – Buyers are looking for an expert that can help them. Share relevant content, about your sector, things that will interest your buyers. Be interesting and be insightful. Don’t just post an article or a video, post some context that will guide the reader.
  3. Inmails are the equivalent of a cold call on a social network, don’t use them. Inmail are just another form of outbound, if you want to connect with somebody then send them a connection request. Always write a reason why you want to connect.
  4. Do Not Pitch – When you connect with somebody do not immediately pitch to them. That’s exactly what a cold call is. People are happy to connect, but you need to build up trust and gain rapport first. As Gary Vee says “give more than you get”. In Gary Vee’s book “Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook” he explains that everybody expects people to pitch immediately there is a connect on social media, the right hook and so everybody ducks. People buy from people they like, so you need to get people to like you first.

Having the ability to meet customers during the day without the need to block out time to prospect during the day is a massive leap forward in terms of effectiveness and productivity. In other words prime selling time (PST) is now customer facing time and prospecting can now be blocked out and planned in outside of PST.

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