Top 5 Ways to Engage Prospects Before You Sell

If you’re familiar with the concept of engagement marketing, you know that giving prospects something valuable for free can help you close deals down the road. The trick is not to bring up your sales pitch yet—don’t even think about it. When you have wined, dined, educated, and inspired your prospect, only then can you seek an opening for discussion of your product or service. But what exactly should you offer to your potential customers? We list our top five favorite freebies.

1. An invite. You can contact prospects via LinkedIn, use your sales automation software to log in some cold calls, or send the old-fashioned snail mail invitation. Just make sure the word gets out to your prospects that you are personally inviting them to a free networking event. Offer guest speakers, food, entertainment, or whatever you think it will take to lure your target crowd. Hosting an event is not an opportunity to talk up your company. Instead, foster relationships and build trust by engaging your prospects in a friendly, low-pressure environment.

2. Your book. So you aren’t a 21st century reincarnation of Dale Carnegie? It’s okay if you don’t have a best-selling sales book or any book at all. You probably have it in you to write up some White Papers about your area of expertise or even provide valuable advice by word of mouth. The whole point: be clear to prospects that you’re an expert in your field, and they’ll be more inclined to do business with you.

3. Fruit basket. Or muffin basket, tower of treats, selection of fine cheeses, etc. If you’ve ever worked in a corporate environment, you know that making executive decisions all day gets you really hungry. Pass along some good will in the form of edibles, and don’t forget to enclose your business card.

4. Gatekeeper goodies. The receptionist or personal assistant to the decision-maker you hope to reach actually has more authority than anyone in the office, at least where you’re concerned. It’s up to you to make friends with this gatekeeper so that he or she won’t hesitate to put you in touch with the powers that be. That may mean unadulterated bribery, so send along the Mrs. Fields cookies, bouquets of flower-shaped fruit, and other “just because” presents. It will pay off next time your salesperson makes a call and wants to get through to the CEO.

5. A free service. Depending on your area of expertise, there are likely a number of free services you can provide to prospects to build trust and nurture your relationship before you even do business together. You could provide an evaluation or assessment of their needs, give them some free coaching, or do whatever you do best to make your prospects’ jobs easier. They’ll think of you first when they’re in the market for your product or service, because they’ll remember how helpful you were.

How can you keep on top of all the prospects you are diligently wooing? Learn more about InsightPRM to see how easy prospect management can be!

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