How to succeed in sales: Connecting is king

Sean Ryan is the founder of Catapult LLC, a consultancy that helps digital publishers with strategy and business development, revenue generation and more.

Someone recently asked me the following question: “In this day and age, how hard is it to connect with clients?”

My reply was that clients who don’t know me take a long time to respond. Clients who do know me understand that I know they are busy — and still take a long time to respond.

In short, it’s not easy being a seller.

As we’ve heard on the boards of places like SellerCrowd, gone are the days of the two-hour lunch, the sense of real relationships with your agency counterpart, and buying an audience based on natural fit. Thanks, technology.

The irony, of course, is that making a connection remains as critical as ever.

In my role as a sales consultant, I have adapted and found new ways to make critical connections with my clients. I am sharing some of these ideas below, and I hope at the very least, they make a connection with you.

Think small — and forget face-to-face meetings
How many times have you worked so hard to get an intro meeting with a client only to find out that timing is wrong and they have no direction, or struggle to stay top of mind when opportunity does come along?

How about asking for a 10-minute phone mini-meeting instead?

You can quickly share your position and ask them to share what they know. From that point forward, your communication will be targeted and more meaningful because you have a sense of their goals. Your follow-up communication and ideas will be tailored, increasing your rate of success moving forward.

Know your company in a tweet or less …
Can you explain your company’s position in 140 characters (or so)? You better. In this day and age, anything much more than that, and you will lose your audience.

… And stop writing “War and Peace”-length emails
The minute they have to scroll down your email, you are screwed. Keep your thinking tweet-sized. The more direct you are in your email, the more likely they are to respond.

Follow up — and follow through
It’s mind-boggling how many sellers go to a meeting and don’t follow up with a thank you and next steps. Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to get back to a client by the end of the day with a recap. A client’s time may be more squeezed than ever, but the importance of good follow-up is something that never goes out of style.

Be an expert
Whatever your company, if you believe you are the best, then you need to act that way. Become an expert in your company, your competitors and your industry. Then share that information with clients so you become their trusted resource.

Pick up the phone and call
This rule has never lost its importance. Stop hiding behind emails all day. Pick 10 clients each day and call them. You may not get them on the phone, but when you do, it will be worth it.

To continue to succeed as sellers, we must think of different ways to connect with clients and provide them service and solutions that they simply can’t get from a programmatic buy.

Otherwise, we’ll soon be out of job. And that’s one connection none of us wants to have in common.

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