Here at Highbrid I’m in charge of business development, fancy word for sales. But regardless if you’re an owner such as myself whose responsibility it is to secure business on behalf of my company or an employee who should be focused on improving themselves and moving up the ranks development is of the utmost importance.
Obviously to be successful at development you have to engage other people; a prospect, a supervisor, a new vendor etc. Some of these people are going to be absolutely instrumental to you reaching that next level, getting that promotion, or acquiring that new account. At the same time these people may not be responsive to your requests for a meeting, and interview, or a summary of their products and services.
What does one do when the individual you need to propel you forward is hard to access or completely disinterested in giving a helping hand? You pleasantly stalk! Pleasantly stalking is an approach that combines persistence, professionalism, and preparedness to put you in a position to prosper. The following paragraphs will go over the top 4 keys to pleasantly stalking.
It’s extremely important to qualify your target. Do you know what decision it is that you need to be made on your behalf, and is this person/department/company you're reaching out to in a position to make that decision. This should be your first step, one of the worst things you can do is waste time, energy, and in some cases money reaching out to someone who can’t help you advance your cause. This is different from dealing with a gatekeeper who you know can get you to the ultimate decision maker. You should develop a baseline of qualifying questions that you can ask a prospect to determine if he or she is the correct person to speak with.
For example if you’re searching for a new job or a promotion you might ask the HR rep if they're in charge of making the final hiring decisions or is it someone else a supervisor or department head perhaps. If so does the HR rep have any influence in the decision, if the answer is no don’t waste another minute speaking with that person but find out who is making the hiring decisions and proceed to engage that individual.
2.) Have a multi pronged approach
In 2013 we have more communication tools than ever before traditional (telephone), and new ways of communicating (twitter). Once you’ve qualified who you need to speak with select two or three different ways to communicate with that person and put a system in place. For example if you're in business development and you have a good prospect that you’ve qualified and are trying to set up a meeting with, and you have three ways of contacting that prospect email, office phone, social media use these tools interchangeably until the desired result is reached. The reason why this is effective until you establish rapport and a relationship with this prospect you’re not certain which is the best way to get in contact with that person.
Anyone who knows me and is trying to reach me knows calling the phone at my office is a dead end. I’m hardly ever there and when I am rarely do I pick up the phone. But send me a text message on my cell and I’ll probably get back to you almost immediately. Put a system in place for this approach i.e; call on Monday leave a voice mail, email on Wednesday, tweet on Friday. You can also switch it up for the following week, email on Monday, tweet Wednesday, and call on Friday. After a couple/few weeks of this approach you’ll get baseline for what type of communication your prospect will respond to and then you can move forward accordingly.
3). Be prepared
The worst thing that can happen is that you execute steps 1 and 2 finally getting in contact with the person(s) you need to engage, and when that time comes being unprepared to deal with it. These opportunities are few and far between wasting them isn’t an option. Make sure you have your pitch together whether you’re pitching yourself for a new position or pitching a business opportunity know what you’re talking about and be able to answer any question and deliver your ideas clearly and succinctly. DON'T BLOW IT!
4). Keep it professional.
One of my first sales mentors told me “Sales has everything to do with you and nothing to do with you at the same time”. You can get your prospect on the phone and they hang up on you, curse you out or even disrespect you in one way or another. Despite your natural instincts don’t return the favor, take the high road. and your reputation is everything it’s what carries you through the tough times so make sure that your rep and integrity never come into question.
Time is a great equalizer so that person who’s difficult to deal with now could be gone tomorrow, or just having a bad day or three, there’s been numerous instances where prospects who laughed me off the phone in our first interaction end up becoming some of my best clients, That would have never happened if I wasn’t professional at all times despite their actions.
Is pleasantly stalking foolproof? No! But if applied properly and following these basic steps I can guarantee vast improvements in your attempts to develop business for yourself as an entrepreneur, move up the ranks in a company you work for, or land that desired position at desired pay for the company you desired.