Today’s post is inspired by the KSHMR, Nevve song Do Bad Well. It got me to thinking about how salespeople approach sales training today. So often, instead of trying to learn how to do good, the training just reinforces how to do bad well. Stick with me here… it will all come together.

Doing Bad Sales Prospecting Well

Everywhere you look people are complaining about traditional sales prospecting tactics. Even salespeople recognize that traditional tactics like cold calling are not only ineffective (1-3% conversation rate) but they’re, in the words of John Jantsch (Duct Tape Marketing) “abusive” to both parties.

Yet, Google “cold calling” and you’ll get page after page of sales trainers or sales training consultants willing to teach you how to do bad prospecting (cold calling) well.

The same goes for most of the other cornerstone traditional sales prospecting techniques like cold email, my personal favorite the cold LinkedIn Invite, and so much of what passes as social selling these days, which is little more than cold outreach on social platforms.

But when you look at most sales training offered today, whether in the form of blog posts, books or formal training, you’re hard pressed to find anyone trying to teach salespeople how to sell greatly… sell by doing good. Nope, everyone just wants to teach you how to continue to sell badly… but be better at it.

This is where I’m reminded of the Dilbert Cartoon “Must control fist of death” LOL.

Learning Good Sales Prospecting Approaches

Ok, so now that we know what it means to do bad well, what do I mean by doing good?

First, today’s self-educating buyers really don’t want to be sold. If they did, they wouldn’t have wasted their time self-educating. They would have just called you in the first place.

No, today’s self-educating buyers will do their best to glean all the information they need to make a purchase without having to talk to you. They’d rather talk to Google or friends and colleagues on social media platforms.

By the time they identify themselves to you, whether via filling out a webform, responding to a warm email or warm-call, they’ve determined there are a few pieces of information they lack and they’re looking for you to complete their education and help them make the right buying decision.

Doing good by these buyers means you place their best interests in front of your own. They’re not just a transaction to be closed, a deal to be won or a prospect to be converted. They are real people, with real problems, that they truly hope you can help them solve.

Notice I said “warm” vs “cold” for both calls and emails. While I think traditional cold outbound prospecting is dead or certainly on its deathbed, the good approach, warm outreach, is very much alive and well. That goes for social media outreach as well.

But let me be clear, when I use “warm” I’m not necessarily suggesting someone has referred you to them. No. Instead, I mean that the first time you contact a sales prospect, it’s not the first time you’ve met them.

In fact, you should never talk to a stranger.

That same technology that your sales prospects are using to self-educate about your product or service can be used for social reconnaissance. Social Recon allows you to build a pretty in-depth dossier about that sales prospect. And by knowing a few key things about them, you can start your outreach conversation from a non-sales place.

But if you’re not starting your conversation from a sales place, where are you starting it? Great question.

You’re going to start it from a relationship place. If you want to become great at sales, you need to understand what it means to sell greatly. And that dear reader is all about building relationships not pipelines.

This Is What It Means To Sell Greatly

Reread that last sentence about relationships vs pipelines. I know, sales heresy right?

But here’s the rub. If you’re just seeing your sales prospects as individual transactions flowing through a metaphorical sales pipeline, then you’re missing the bigger picture.

The value of being relationship first in sales is the lifetime sales value of each relationship vs a summation of all lifetime sales transactions closed with a single sales prospect.

How’s that different you may ask. Simple.

First, when your sales prospects understand that you value them beyond the transaction, they not only do business with you, they become a Social Agent, effectively telling everyone to do business with you. And I’m not just talking referral here. No, Social Agency is so much more powerful than that.

Second, because they have a relationship with you, they become vested in you as a person, not just a salesperson. That means you get the nod more often, you become the top-of-stack proposal vs your competitors and best of all, you’ll get the heads up when your competition is trying to steal business by worming their way between you and your former sales prospect, now customer.