Connections Should be Easy...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Sep 25, 2014

3 Simple Tips for More Effective Sales Connections.

As a sales guy, I have no problem with making connections.  For my business associates.  For my MIT and Tufts students.  For our customers of the firm.  It's part of the process of living and working in a tight ecosystem like Boston...or in any other city for that matter.

Since "time is money", when you connect with a Connector like me for sales prospects or for jobs, I might suggest the following tips to save time for you, for me, and for anyone that you're asking to be a Connector.  In addition to saving time, by thinking through the end point of the actual equation to create value for you, it makes the entire process much more impactful and effective for both you and for the Connector.  No one likes to waste time, and you also want to use your Connectors for their connections and not force them to work through the administrative parts of what it takes to connect you.  

email signatures resized 600First, very simple advice.  Every email you send needs an email signature that contains your work phone, your cell phone and your connections to your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts.  One, this process is about creating effective and efficient connections, so simply make the process easy.  For example, if your Connector is traveling, it's much easier to hit a hyperlinked phone number or Linked In account with a tap of a finger to their iPhone rather than move through numbers of screens.  

Sounds so simple, and yet 20% of the emails I receive from sales and marketing people and high level executives don't have basic "how-to-connect-with-me" information in their signatures.  Five solid tips here.

Second, if you're looking to your Connector to be part of your job hunting campaign, never send your resume with a request such as, "if you happen to become aware of anything, keep me in mind".  One, if it's me, I'll just delete the email since the probabilities of me "seeing anything come up", or "bumping into someone", and then remembering your resume are ZERO, ZILCH and NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.  You would do better in terms of results if you were to rent a billboard on the Mass Pike and post your resume there.   

Staying on the job hunting front for a minute longer, when you approach a Connector, think in terms of pre-answering the following questions that they're going to ask you anyhow: 

  • What’s the geography you’re looking for?  For example is this “New England” or “Greater Boston”?
  • What are the verticals you are looking at?  Tech, Consumer products, medical devices, software manufacturing…and so on?
  • What’s the size of company that you want to work at?  Startup?  Small?  Medium?  Large?  Enterprise? Do not respond with "SMB", since it is not definitive enough.
  • What are the titles of jobs you would want?
  • If there are names of companies that you would like to be introduced to?  Be descriptive here, even if it’s “companies such as….?
  • What are your best skills that we could market together 
  • Always send your LinkedIN URL.
  • BTW, if you are targeting a specific company, send the Connector the URLs of the management team and the board members.

Third, tell the Connector about the value that you're marketing and selling.  

I already know the value for you connecting with me.  But, you need to answer the question very specifically of "What's the value that you're going to bring to the company that you want the Connector to help connect you to?"

  • If the request is to be connected to a prospect, then provide the Connector with two or three bullets about your company's value proposition.  Hopefully, this will be in a specific link to the company's site, but if not, it's one or three short, tightly crafted bullets that can be cut and pasted by the Connector.
  • If the request is for a job search, then the same applies.  Your wonderfully constructed resume is merely about the facts, and in the majority of cases will never be read carefully.  As a result, you need to provide an overview about the value that you're going to provide both the hiring manager and the company.

Value proposition 7 resized 600It's called a Value Proposition, and you need to very definitively spell out the value in two or three bullets and make that part of your marketing kit that you're providing to your Connector so that that person can help you both effectively and efficiently. Without a carefully constructed value proposition, you're leaving the translation up to the hiring manager...and it totally wastes the time of your Connector.

At this stage in the quarter, you're not looking for new top-of-funnel leads and opportunities since it's all about closing deals between today and next Tuesday.  But, with the turn of the page in the calendar, come Wednesday, you'll be back on the front lines, deep in the battle, connecting for new opportunities.  

I hope that these simple tips might make that process more effective.

Good Selling...and Good Planning! 

Jack Derby 

Head Coach  
Derby Management...for 25 years
Sales & Marketing Productivity Experts
Business & Strategy Planning Specialists
Box 171322, Boston, MA 02117
Jack's Cell: 617-504-4222 

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Tags: Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, sales and marketing best practices, sales, sales management effectiveness, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales planning, selling, sales management training, selling skills, sales training