How I was sold to by a social seller

Sending emails, InMails and direct messages is an integral part of every seller’s day. As a business consultant and therefore a potential buyer, I receive hundreds of just such prospecting communications, and in truth most of them end up in my trash folder. So when my inbox was stuffed with offers, why did I choose to read the email from a seller at Artesian?

The answer is simple:
• It was timely
• It was relevant
• It was insightful
• It made me think
• It offered a solution to a problem I needed to fix
• It made me feel like I was buying, rather than being sold to

My story

At the time Artesian approached me I was a retained consultant with a large technology company. My objective was to raise sales productivity through improved lead generation, and I had several challenges. The business was stuck in a rut, doing things the way they had always done them, and the desired results and metrics were not being achieved. The overriding sentiment within the senior management team was one of frustration, so investment was drying up and staff were feeling under ever increasing pressure to turn performance around.

Overcoming these significant obstacles and delivering a transformational solution was going to be no mean feat. So when Artesian came along with an email that got right to the heart of the issues at the top of my agenda, I had to open it.

Firstly, I was intrigued – how had they found me, how did they know what challenges I was facing and how did they know I was in the market for a new lead generation solution? When I read on, I quickly realised the answer was that they had done their homework – these guys were social sellers!

Artesian hadn’t just hit me with a generic sales pitch. They had tracked the conversations I was having in the market, which helped them identify my pain points. They had researched the wider corporate challenges my business was facing, heard what our customers were saying, and seen what our competitors were doing. They had pieced together the puzzle and come up with a solution.

Not only did their email hit me at exactly the moment I needed it, but it made me think. It immediately addressed issues I was facing, it was driven by my agenda, and presented a solution I had not considered before. But it wasn’t a one-time offer, or a “click here to sign up”. It was an introduction into a wider conversation and a chance to explore what we could achieve if we worked together. It was the start of a buyer-seller relationship.

I was sold!

A buyer’s advice to sellers

Take a leaf out of Artesian’s book.

• Don’t send a customer an email just because it fits your agenda – it will be deleted. Send an email because it fits theirs

• Don’t send an email because it is the end of the month and you have a quota to fill. Send an email that is timely for the customer. Look for the trigger events within their business and the buying signals they are sending out. Send an email at the point in time that will be of most impact

• Don’t send a generic sales pitch or blanket offer. Do your homework! Use the tools available to you (social networks, websites, blogs, news sources, corporate and financial data etc.) to find out what is important to each individual customer, what challenges they face, their goals, and what can be learned from their past successes and failures. Use this insight to tailor your approach, so that above all else it is relevant

• Don’t be frightened to challenge! Buyers place the highest value on sales people that make them think in innovative new ways. Think about why your solution could have an impact, and what can you do to make them rethink their status quo

• Don’t hard sell. Influence! A buyer might well be in the market for what you are selling, but this does not mean they are ready to relinquish control. Your job is to influence their buying decisions, not hijack them. Pitch the tone of your email to make them think that they are buying on their terms, not being sold to – that there is a genuine conversation to be had

And my final piece of advice…

Don’t make yourself easy to delete. You need to earn the right for a customer to open your email!

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