I’ll be honest, it’s taken us some time to understand that sales is not a linear process. Like many sales professionals, we’re used to thinking about direct engagement through email and phone calls that will lead, directly, to a meeting. That should then lead to the next stage, etc. This approach to sales basically assumes that the right solution to a prospect’s problem should lead to direct action, regardless of timing.
What’s been true since time immemorial is that timing is a huge piece of the puzzle when doing sales. Meaning, you might have the right solution to the problem but if timing isn’t aligned, it doesn’t matter. This core understanding has empowered us to stop thinking in terms of actions in terms of their direct effects, and instead start thinking about all of the many actions that can indirectly lead to the desired effects.
So what does that mean practically? It means that in addition to our direct cold email outbound efforts, we spend a significant amount of time trying to meet our buyers where they are. In our case, that’s primarily LinkedIn. We no longer try to get a meeting out of every interaction. Instead, our goal is to authentically share value and stay top of mind. If we can prove ourselves valuable with the content we write or the comments we post, our future buyers will not only think about us, but they’ll do so fondly.
Meeting your buyers where they are doesn’t have to be exclusive to social media. It could be physical events, forums, industry trade publications etc. It completely depends on one’s industry and where the buyers are. Doing this on a social media platform like LinkedIn is often referred to as Social Selling. The goal is to create engagement that will lead relatively organically to sales conversations when the timing is right. If nothing else, it allows us to be more human, plant seeds for the future and reach more people.