Redefining sales prospecting in an era where no one wants to talk to you

If you’ve been prospecting for sales recently, you may have noticed some differences in our culture—most importantly the fact that disruptive marketing and sales is out. That means cold calls. That means deleting email pitches. 

The Internet is crushing a sales rep’s ability to get in front of prospects. So what is a sales rep to do? Companies still need to sell to generate more revenue, right?

We asked Jennifer Gluckow, owner of about how she trains salespeople to prospect for and acquire new business by blending the best of the old techniques we know and love, and how they can be incorporated into current tools, technologies and strategies. 

Sales Engine Media: How is prospecting different in 2015 than 10 years ago?

Jennifer Gluckow: Cold calling may have worked in 1972 (and even 2002), but it’s now a distraction and an annoyance to the person receiving the call. If you have ever received a cold call you know exactly what I’m talking about! 

THINK ABOUT IT: How quickly do you hang up on a cold caller? 

In-person networking, online (LinkedIn) prospecting, market positioning, content marketing, and value messaging are now the ways to go. Virtual networking to attract with value, and connect with purpose and on purpose is the future of prospecting that you can use today. All you have to do is adjust your mindset and reallocate the time your wasting, and focus on the new frontier.

SE: What advice do you give to sales teams on a regular basis about the proper way to go about prospecting?

JG. Delivering the best product or service is now a given. The secret to loyalty and continuing business is:

  1. Maintain the relationship with consistent value messaging, and thereby stay top-of-mind for both referrals and repeat business. 
  2. Create genuine attraction and interest through value messaging. 
  3. Build loyal relationships with existing customers and earn referrals.

In short, anything BUT cold calling. Don’t WASTE time cold calling (getting rejected 99 out of 100 times). You may make a sale cold calling, but your BEST most profitable sales will come from relationships - and whether that’s done in person or digitally through social selling is irrelevant - it’s the same process with the same effect. 

SE: How do you train sales people to balance their time between research, social media listening and responding, making connections and networking and traditional prospecting via emails and phone calls?

JG: Prospecting has been completely redefined. Social selling is the new black, and time MUST be allocated to get to both customers and prospects online. A decade ago, people were just getting used to the web. YouTube and social media had just begun to blossom. Fast-forward a decade and both acceptance and sophistication have set in, and it’s prevalent in our culture. LinkedIn is the new business standard, and YouTube has become the third most visited website on the Internet. Videos now have billions of views. 

Consumers are more educated about the products and services you offer. By watching videos and reading (online, mobile) reviews, they’re able to easily compare products for both price and value through the opinions of others. 

For example, the average consumer can walk into a showroom knowing what they want and how much it should cost - many times, they’ve already researched it and have made a buying decision BEFORE they arrive. 

My recommendation is to know your product and your competitor’s products better than your consumers do, and be the expert at helping, asking, and informing. 

It’s simple if you just dedicate a small amount of time to it every day. 

In my networking group earlier this week, I gave everyone an apple - not because we’re located in the Big Apple, but because of the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The point being that you can’t expect the same health results by eating 30 apples on the last day of the month!

Social selling works the same way. Use the Internet a little bit each day to research potential prospects, link with them, and meet them both virtually and face-to-face. 

If they’re local, find out where they hang out - what kind of associations and networking groups they’re part of. And don’t just join them, get involved. You’re probably going to meet more similar types of people in those associations that have similar problems that you can solve. Let people see you as a leader, not just a joiner.

For most industries, those sales will continue to produce referrals and more business if you focus on bringing and conveying messages of value and not just selling with a formula.

COFFEE IS NOT JUST FOR CLOSERS, IT’S FOR RELATIONSHIPS. Have coffee with a client or prospect every morning or make it a breakfast - bring someone of value to them. Bring someone who may give your customer business. Once you become their partner instead of their vendor, you’ll win their respect, their loyalty, and their referral.

SE: How do you tell sales people to use content in a way that creates curiosity and gets the prospect asking more questions from you?

JG: Use promotional (sales-based) articles and offerings sparingly. Only offer promotional stuff 20% of the time, or when they’re further down the sales pipeline with your value offerings. The success key is to offer value-based content that’s educational, helpful and/or inspiring- content that your consumer, customer, or prospective customer cares about or needs - the remaining 80% of the time. 

For example, my followers want to know how to make more sales. I offer a free ebook on new strategies to increase sales - It’s called Jen’s Top Ten for Sales Zen and you can find this resource here.

SE: What advice do you give to sales people to push on marketing for the tools they need to get engaged in sales conversations? 

JG: Take your marketing people out on sales calls on a regular basis so they can hear the issues and objections that consistently come up. Get them to see and experience the real world. Then collaborate with them to come up with a content strategy that helps solve the prospect’s problem and is not just about your products and services.

Embrace tradition and combine it with technology and you have the new sales-winning formula.

Jennifer Gluckow has northeastern smarts and New York City savvy - a rare combination that has her positioned as the next big thing in sales. Okay, she's not ALL New York. She's traveled the world, educated in the Midwest, and spoken to audiences from coast to coast. Jennifer's a speaker, trainer, writer (read her free e-book), blogger, Facebooker, Instagrammer, Tweeter, and YouTuber. She is online and on the money. Drive, persistence, and winning through a desire to serve, have made Jennifer Gluckow an example of how to "make it" in New York, and her mission is to teach you how to make it anywhere.

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