Death of the Cold Call...Maybe
If you sell something B2B these days I suggest SLOWING DOWN a tad and doing something I know will be anathema to fast flying fighter pilot sales people - RESEARCH. *There is no excuse for calling me (or any prospect) COLD and reading a script EVER. *

I had a hardworking bulldog of a sales guy call me today from http://www.insightera.com/ and, to his credit, he tossed the script and LISTENED at least enough to have a conversation. 

Insightera looks interesting. As my regular readers know I'm convinced web 3.0 will be a much more dynamic ecosystem capable of conversion levels we only dream of now. Why? 

The promise of all of these social signals matched with predictive analytics firing in real time means the future will convert better. The email Insighter sent intrigued me enough to NOT delete it (a rarity). 

How much better and more impressed could I have been if the sales person had taken ten minutes to:

* Send me a Linkedin Request. 
* Or REVIEW my Linkedin profile. 
* LinkedIn Gives you my Twitter and Blog so FOLLOW BOTH. 
* LinedIn also provides my background, so NO SCRIPTS. 
* LinkedIn also provides my causes - curing cancer, so KNOW THIS. 

If you are selling something COLD, good luck with that. You start with several strikes against you. I understand markets have to be made, but there is so much information out there about anybody why not USE IT to become interested in your prospect BEFORE your cold call? 

I used to sell for P&G and I'm sure they have a training program that helps their sales people be proactive and engaged on social media. What did I do after the cold call? I found the sales person and sent them a LI request. I also studied his LinkedIn profile and went to his twitter page - all steps he should have done.

Here are other tests I did after speaking to Insightera's representative:

* I followed @Insightera on Twitter.
* I reported a broken link (their Facebook icon) via Twitter. 
* I clicked on every social link including their blog. 
* I followed them on Pinterest.
* I looked at several pages on their website. 
* I wrote this post. 

All of these actions are mini-tests. At the very least my +Marketo  score should be high enough now where they can afford to invest a little more in knowing me. If that sounds backwards it is because it is. 

I shouldn't be doing these things THEY SHOULD because they are selling me something, something I would be willing and able to share across a growing social network. Once ADVOCACY starts it requires CARE and FUEL. 

If my social connections are returned advocacy will continue. As I write this I have 3,322 Twitter followers (most of my followers are the kind of Internet marketers Insightera needs).@Insightera has 344 followers. This follower disparity means they should have already followed me back. 

TIME is part of the B2B evaluation process. As time ticks buy and my attempt at connection remains unsupported I will move from mildly interested to questioning their tool's legitimacy. If you B2B company can't quickly return a follow then YOUR ENTIRE PROPOSITION is in question. 

+John Lane gave a great presentation +Digital Marketing for Business conference where he had a MONSTER slide that says 60% of the sale is OVER before you get on the phone. I agree and that means when you do get on the phone BE CAREFUL and know me. Also, be tuned in enough to know and reward advocacy immediately since to do anything else DESTROYS CREDIBILITY. 

And the wrecking ball doesn't stop at this sale, the sale you are working on NOW. The wrecking ball extends to sales controlled by my three networks: Inner circle (friends and family), outer circle (professional connections) and the third circle of Friends of Friends. See how one little tiny mistake can be multiplied 10x in the time it took to read this? 

Always Follow First
Just that simple proactive step of following first shows so much. By following me (@ScentTrail) first @Insightera shows respect and a desire for collaboration instead of just attempting to ram something down my throat (and good luck with that btw :). 

If you sell something B2B recognize everything you do is a TEST. 

Every interaction is full of collaboration and connection potential IF you understand you are playing the connection and collaboration game. If you think you are in the "SELL THINGS" game someone more socially powerful than you will reduce your prospects to rubble in less time than it took to write this post. 

Be respective, so always FOLLOW FIRST. Be kind and know your prospects before you engage. To do anything else invites TROUBLE. Social disrespect is such a fine Kabuki to be unaware is to LOSE, to be CAREFUL and to show respect is appreciated and rewarded. 

Will Insightera pass their tests? Stay tuned. If anyone in my social nets knows Insightera please share your use of the tool or evaluations of the team. Thanks, M 
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