Want more sales? Then seek first to understand

Here’s an actual sales message I received recently:

“I build and manage for you powerful sales teams! Whats your email, I’ll send a proposal!”

Now let’s be clear about this. I had never met, exchanged e-mails or spoken to the sender. Even if they found my business on the internet and did all the online research they possibly could, there is no way they know enough about my business to be able to send me a worthwhile proposal.

Maybe the intention of the message was to get my attention – which it obviously did. But it got my attention because the message was wrong on so many levels and not because I want to be sent a proposal.

In Stephen Covey’s ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’, Habit no.5 is “Seek first to understand, then be understood”. My would-be proposal writer hadn’t sought to understand the first thing about me or my business,. Am I likely to buy? No. Am I likely to engage with him? Not to buy – he’s going to try and sell me what he has got and not what I need. Even if, by chance, he does have what I need, am I likely to buy. No, because if I have a problem or a question he has already demonstrated he is not listening. He is in broadcast mode, not receiving mode.

The best sales people listen more than they speak. They engage, ask open questions, get to understand what you are looking to achieve, so that when they make you an offer, it is something relevant to your needs. Something that meets your requirements.

Finding prospects to engage with may seem a lot more challenging than pumping out a few Twitter and Facebook ads. It doesn’t have to be, especially if you are in the business to business world. You see, most business people use LinkedIn. There are over 18 million users in the UK alone and 360 million worldwide. I think we should be able to find your ideal customer amongst them, don’t you? With the right profile – one that extols what you do for your clients, what benefits you bring to them, you can attract, connect and engage with your sort of client.

LinkedIn webinar bootcamp webinar screenIf you’d like to understand how to use LinkedIn to avoid the mistakes of my would-be proposal writer and generate more sales, join me for a three part live webinar series. To paraphrase a well known Star Trek character, ‘It’s LinkedIn Jim, but not as you know it’. Click on the screen or the link to sign up.

LinkedIn webinar Bootcamp