Can you imagine meeting a prospective romantic partner at a social event and then following up with today’s automated tools in the manner we follow up with conference leads?
It was a pleasure meeting you at the (event).
Did you realize that (insert redundant fact here.)?
I’ve attached a white paper that outlines what makes me awesome. It's 10 pages.
Once you read that and are ready to get married, click here to schedule the date.
Then send them an email every 3 days, for two weeks, finally ending with.
Well, (insert name), you haven’t followed up with my emails so I’m assuming you either
a) are interested, but your email got caught in my spam folder
b) forgot how awesome I am or
c) got married to a billionaire.
Please respond a, b or c, otherwise, this will be my last email to you.
Sorry you missed out. I am awesome.
You get the point.
Authentic relationships take time to build.
If you’re a transactional business with a one-call close, then this post won’t mean much to you. But I’m not talking about one-call closes or one-night stands. I’m talking about relationships.
And for those of us who sell services, the currently accepted rules and metrics are not always effective and there is a critical lack of understanding on how these sales are made.
I’m not dismissing the importance of automation, the awesome power of today’s marketing tools or the insight of artificial intelligence. I love technology and embrace it daily. Everything from reminders on my iPhone, to HubSpot.com to innumerable apps and tools that make both my personal and professional life more effective, efficient and productive.
But I am concerned that today’s sellers are forgetting that artificial intelligence supplements human intelligence. In fact, it relies upon it. And that means there’s a need for emotional intelligence.
That’s one of the reasons I’ve always embraced trade shows and conferences to meet new prospects.
I’ve been guilty of overthinking trade show booth placement, giveaways and color schemes at the expense of time preparing my sales team. These are important considerations - but just as important is the team prep.
For example: how much time are you and your team investing with your sales team ahead of time to develop the pitch required for converting conversations to an authentic exchange of information? How about training on body language, opening lines, and effective questioning techniques? What about follow up and follow through?
Here’s some best practices to consider:
- Certify reps on the trade show pitch.
- Rehearse prospect approaches.
- Evaluate body language and first approaches
- Develop and teach/opening lines
- Determine sales objectives (leads captured is good, relationships created, even better)
- Measure post-event contacts. Not just first email but how many activities. Determine the lead conversion process. Embed human interaction.
- Use automation tools to enter leads, assign opportunities, enroll in specific communications track pipeline and measure ROI.
Sure, these conversations can be awkward. Just like dating. But in today’s impersonal, automation reliant, marketing content focused world, the human connections created at a conference can be the differentiator.
Decide, define and inspect what you want to accomplish. Set appointments with current clients and prospects with defined goals, and then ensure that the relationships are developed and nurtured with tools like zerokeyboard.com and Salesforce.com’s Native App to automate the lead conversion process in your CRM.
Hold reps accountable for follow up and track the conversions. Make a contest of it - “inspect what you expect” and create authentic conversations that lead to authentic prospects. A well crafted short personal email, a direct mail piece with a handwritten note referring to a conversation that was actually had at the event; follow up that happens immediately.
With a sales plan in place and a defined strategy for follow through, you’ll convert those leads to conversations. And conversations to relationships. And relationships to sales.