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Pleasantly Stalking

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.

 

1.) Qualify

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.

Daniel Gutzmore Comment
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advancement, entrepreneurs, Professional Development, Corporate America, stalking

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Never Stop Learning

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs conference which was held in Chicago. This was my fourth year attending the conference and it’s a great event, besides the fact that I’m black and an entrepreneur there’s numerous reasons why attending a conference like this one is extremely beneficial. The connections made with other entrepreneurs and professionals, the professional development, and the opportunity to charge your batteries and be inspired by other individuals who are in the trenches like yourself is priceless, and all of these benefits can help you generate more revenue.   Any entrepreneur with common sense understands the importance of building their professional network because after all you network is going to determine your net worth. A conference such as this is networking on steroids thousands of professionals who you have a chance to meet face to face have in depth conversations and discover synergies. If you attempted to meet the same amount of professionals on your own it would take a lifetime at a conference you can accomplish this in a few days. In addition you can make higher level connections that would be difficult to make otherwise. I’ve met and made serious connections with C-Suite executives that have dramatically changed the trajectory of our business at conferences. These are individuals that if I cold called them, or emailed I would never get through.  I’ve also met other professionals who’ve become great partners enhancing the services we’re able to offer to customers, and on a personal level I’ve met a lot of good people who’ve become good friends.

Entrepreneurs are like teenagers; exuberant, enthusiastic, willing to take chances, and think they know everything.  In actuality we don’t and you need to have a commitment to professional development that will allow you to grow and take your business to the next level.  At Highbrid we have that commitment and its evident by the in house workshops that we run every Monday but again it would take a million Mondays and a million workshops to duplicate the level of professional development afforded to you by attending the sessions, panel discussions, and workshops a conference has to offer over the course of a few days. These panel discussions and workshops can provide invaluable information that you otherwise would have never known, such as ways to secure financing, how to use technology to enhance your business, how to franchise your business, building an exit plan to sell your business. You can also discover emerging trends and technology in business that you’ll be able to add making a difference in your bottom line.  For me as a principal of Highbrid it’s important that I bring these findings and  newly learned approaches share them with my staff and  begin implementing those they make sense for the growth of the company.  Highbrid has been able to develop proven strategies through information we learned by taking professional development seriously, part of that is attending conferences.

Depending on the size of a particular conference or trade show you can have upwards of 10,000+ participants including vendors, sponsors, and event staff, you have the opportunity to meet all types of people. If it’s a gathering of professionals in your industry or in this case other business owners it can be a very invigorating, and inspiring to meet some of these people. In your professional life at times you get very entrenched from day to day can develop tunnel vision to the rest of world and possibilities around it so it’s great to be able to meet different professionals from different parts of the country or globe. Typically they’re dealing with some of the same issues as you and could help provide insight on how to approach these issues.

Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs conference is one of several events that Highbrid Media’s staff attends throughout the year including Ad Week NY, B.E. Golf and Tennis Challenge, CETW conference for Digital Signage professionals and other conferences, trade shows and events. The connections made, professional development attained, and some of the great personalities we’ve had the opportunity to meet and be inspired by has been more than worth the time and resources and has had a direct positive impact on our bottom line.

Daniel Gutzmore Comment
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conferences, BlACK Enterprise, Professional Development, HIGHBRID MEDIA, Adweek

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