When my teenage daughter said she did not want to accompany my wife and myself to a Christmas party a couple of years ago, I was curious to know why, since she normally likes hanging out with us. She told me most people there are much older and she doesn’t know anyone so she‘d have nothing in common.

I shared with her one tip I learnt early on in my sales career, people like to talk about themselves. Compliment them on their outfit, ask them where they live/work, their favorite place to vacation, etc and the conversation will flow. It did and she had a blast. The skill she learnt that day helped her enormously when she started college last fall and through internships she has done.

So the not so secret way to increase sales engagement is to personalize your outreach. The example I gave above is clearly more in a social setting, but that does not change the fact that prospects are people and if your outreach is personalized you will see a significant increase in engagement,

This is indisputable

An interesting sub-topic that I have spent hours discussing, shall my overture be business related or social. Bottom-line, choose whichever you believe has a stronger chance to succeed.

It may help if I provide an example, my favorite football team, Liverpool won the English Premier league for the first time in 30 years. If a salesperson had seen one of my posts on a social network and had mentioned that in a sincere way, I would have responded because I’m clearly emotionally vested in that topic and someone is sharing in my joy.  Bear in mind if I posted it publicly, I wanted people to know about it, it was there to be found.

Second example, which are not in any particular order, I truly believe it depends on each individual situation.

The prospect has posted on a topic, e.g, “bitcoin”, so firstly you’ve done the research in identifying the topic(s), the second part is more difficult, providing insight. You cannot just say, “That was an interesting post on bitcoin”, “Or I see you studied at Stanford”, or “Good to see you volunteer with children” You need to provide some insight. The challenge being  you cannot be an expert on every topic under the sun,

I’ve another easy hack for you.

Share an article on that topic. “Hi Sara, that was an interesting “topic” you posted on last Thursday. It reminded me of an article I recently read “publication name” which I thought I’d share with you.

Clearly it’s important to have a highly relevant article, but even mildly relevant content from a quality source will also work. What you’re really achieving is letting the prospect know you’re not only thinking of them, you’ve also taken the time to research and find something, literally the act of sharing. This is so much better than the “Checking in” email or “Getting to the top of your inbox”, that’s all about you, this is about them.

When I was a sales pup, in the late 80’s in the UK, before email, we had to send 4 physical articles to a prospects daily. Which involved cutting the article from the paper/magazine, handwriting a note, placing a stamp, then mailing it.

So there are no excuses for not sharing industry related content with all the tools at your disposal.

Third scenario, business imperatives – Research the prospect companies’ website, news articles, Company/Prospect Linkedin page, Slideshare, 10Q’s if the company is public.

Find something that they have talked about related to their challenges, initiatives, imperatives, threats and/or opportunities. Clearly adding how your solution can help with the issue(s) they have.

Let’s talk about the Elephant in the room. If it works, if it’s indisputable why is not everyone doing this?

The one word answer is time, it’s immensely time consuming to find an appropriate topic from Linkedin and other social networks. It’s very time consuming to go through the prospects website/Slideshare, Google news, 10Q’s, Linkedin groups, email newsletters, etc.

That’s the problem that Sharetivity has resolved. We aggregate all the information from all the above mentioned sources and then we analyze it for you to easily find topics, interests and insights into a simple user interface.

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We have some exciting plans in the works, so please stay tuned but you can try it for free now by downloading the chrome extension.