In my last post I was talking about how you can greatly increase your prospecting odds by leveraging people you know for an introduction.
In this post I am going to talk about how to greatly increase your prospecting odds without an introduction. This approach is all about “social proximity” as Jamie Shanks calls it.
Consider this data
Here’s why you should consider adding this “social proximity” approach to your prospecting efforts:
- In it’s 2014 research report, How to Make Your Number, Sales Benchmark Index found you are “4.2 x more likely to get an appointment if there is a personal connection with a buyer”
- In my experience success rates in getting intros using this approach vary from approximately 1 in 2 to 1 in 5, vs 1 in 100 or 1 in 330 for cold calling.
Birds of a feather
Using the “social proximity” approach I am describing here is a direct approach. There is no transfer of trust (“social capital”) from an intermediary as there is in the approach I described in my last post.
What makes this technique work far better than cold calling is the trust that exists because you have a common bond with the person you are approaching. This common bond can be a shared educational background, professional association, military, place you live (kids at same school perhaps) etc.
The strength of feeling that exists in this common background will determine your success rate along with how well you approach the other person.
Many of the communities you can leverage provide their members with a directory, for example an alumni directory for a school, a member directory for a professional organization or a directory of families for a town’s school.
In most professional situations you can cross-check this information by looking the person up on Linkedin. This helps you check their current information and get more details on their background.
Even though you share a common bond, you still need to give the person you approach a reason to speak to you. They are very likely stressed out in their job and giving up their time to speak to you is still a big ask.
You need to have your value proposition together and if you can add a trigger event to your approach then your success rates will increase even more.
Explain why you think you may be able to help their company and mention that your research showed something changed that makes it seem like now is a reasonable time to connect.
Approach people with a common background to you and you will see a big uptick in your ability to get meetings. “Birds of a feather do flock together.”