My wife runs a small (but successful!) food PR company and after speaking with her the other day about the number of cold sales approaches she receives on a weekly basis via various channels and the annoyance it causes her (it has reached such a level that she doesn't use many platforms as a result). 

New prospects and buyers are becoming hard to reach by the traditional methods - the phone, e-mail, face-2-face, pagers, pigeon post.....that’s why tools like LinkedIn and Sales Navigator are incredibly valuable to both the seller and the buyer if used in the correct way.  Coupled with this, it seems more often than not,  you only get one shot before the prospect has moved on to your rivals because they have a shinier logo, they have received another round of funding or they have moved closer to the Ned.

It does however seem, that lazy practices from sales folk adopting classic shortcut tactics like ‘the un-customised and cold LinkedIn connection request’ ‘the quick elevator pitch’ and ‘the tenuous link'- (I once met a friend of a friend who went to uni with your brother), is seriously jeopardising potential prospects and buyers use of such platforms.  On the other hand, those that do adopt best practices will stand out like Theresa May at a breakdance competition.... but in a good way!

Best practice should be to take the time to research and understand;

  • What their interests are(using information that is freely available as opposed to a private detective!)
  • What groups are they are members of
  • What content they interact with
  • What content are they creating

Most importantly, what are their current pain points? Once you know this information you have the basis for an initial contact that is tailored, 1-2-1 personable, authentic and an altogether human approach. 

Reaching out this way builds a relationship for the future and positions you and your company as thought leaders and go-to experts for solutions.

 It also means that prospects and buyers won't jump ship or shy away from using platforms like LinkedIn.