6 Sales Lessons Learned From Online Dating
We are all familiar the large number of online dating apps After re-entering the dating scene, I discovered that using those dating apps successfully to meet new people and the sales process have a lot in common. I have been a consultant for over 15 years, studying and practicing the art and science of sales. Having recently joined the online dating world, I’ve had to polish-up on what is truly core in convincing strangers to be intrigued enough by my story to want to meet me.
Below are 6 ideas and reminders on the fundamentals of persuasion and prospecting, which I have used over the last several months and drastically improved my sales performance.
Focus only on High Odds Targets: “There are plenty of fish in the sea” is just as true with dating apps as it is for prospecting and sales. The key to cutting through the undifferenced-mass in dating apps is focusing on targets that are both a good fit and which you have a solid chance of winning. Take a long look at the attributes of an ideal customer and matchup with your offering. Persuasion today is all about quality and far less of a numbers game. Be critical and limit the pool you are fishing to a manageable size that you can confidently and persistently pursue in high quality fashion. Swipe left if you don’t have enough information or don’t have high confidence in a successful match.
Cast Many Nets: Once you have your target defined, look in several places. In dating that was telling my friends, family, signing up for activities, lessons and creating profiles in several apps. In sales it’s hunting in social media, conferences, webinar attendees and tight filtered databases. Again, you are not going for large numbers but simply looking for the few needles, in each haystack, to focus on.
Do the research: Just like blind dates are long-gone since social media, so are true cold calls. The more points of interest you can touch on and match to your value prop the greater your success. For example; my now Ex-wife (thus the dating) once had several business meetings with the GM of a large company. Over dinner she told me all the challenges and goals of this company. That company was also a solid target for Altus. Without disclosing my sources, I crafted a blind email to that GM outlining our value points and supported each with corresponding problems we solve, knowing full well the outline was all top of mind challenges for the GM. The result was a quick response complementing the email and eagerness to meet and learn more.
Message like you know them: Beyond relaying the ideal match and points of interest, keep your tone personal and differentiated. An early connection needs to break through the corporate monotone that everyone else is speaking. Simply add some personality, passion and personal interest to your tone and try to keep the highly refined product messaging to specific points. Be yourself and they will know the difference.
Be unique: In dating my best results often came from unique and personalized suggestions for meeting spots. I wanted to get above the noise of coffee and happy hours. I would offer; ‘Let’s walk Fido to Green Lake’ or ’Let’s try that Hot Yoga class you like. For calls to action, I started trying follow-up items aligned with topics from the prospect’s bios. For example, a PS note with a Red Bull mountain bike video created a common bond and made it harder for my prospect to ignore me. Today you need to appeal to who you are messaging, its far less about you, your product or company. Highly leveraging templates and Cut n’ Paste no longer build the necessary trust and differentiation needed.
Prove you care. The best way to differentiate yourself from the masses is the proof that comes from a value-added follow-up effort. Not talking about repeat pings saying “how about now? Now? Is now better?” My big wins in dating came from making her feel truly special with persistent and personalized messaging. In sales that simply means a professional persistence across multiple channels where each new message offers a new reason, a new angle, more proof, more help, something that may trigger the response. The primary element at work here is Effort. They need to know they are more than a one-message prospect. You also get the benefit of different Timing, knowing that Timing of a message is just as important. Prospects seeing effort from a consistent and customized outreach should yield a response more than 40% of the time. A far cry from the ~2% response norm.
Today’s buyers are as challenging as finding that perfect someone. It is hard to get their attention and when you do you better have the context, substance and be well-timed.