Step 2 to Establishing a Channel Sales Model: Engaging Your Ideal Candidates

After rating your candidates, you must identify the right person at each company to speak to about a channel partnership. Your goal should be to schedule an introductory call with this individual. A brief, 15-minute conversation is all you need to set a partnership in motion.

Research shows that people who initially agree to smaller, more trivial requests are more inclined to oblige larger, more involved commitments. Social scientists call it successive approximations. Salespeople call it getting a foot in the door.

In either case, it's an initial opportunity — and here are several tactics that'll help you land one:

Ask for a warm introduction

The best way to start the conversation is by getting a warm intro from a mutual connection, as it lends credibility to your cause. The process is straightforward. In fact, you've probably done it before: identify the right person on LinkedIn, scan your network for a common connection, then message that connection and ask for an introduction. Easy.

Your message should contain plenty of context:

  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • Why is this connection warranted?
  • What are you trying to accomplish?

This information should be clear and concise, easy to understand. You should also promise to update your connection after the introduction has been made as most people will want to know if they've been helpful.

Make a cold phone call

Today, finding a professional phone number is easy. Engaging the stranger on the other end of the line is — and forever will be — a challenge.

“It's not about what you say,” writes Steli Efti, a cold-calling expert, “it's about what they hear! Selling isn't about getting the words out of your mouth. It's about the thoughts you create in your prospect's mind.”

What's wonderful and exciting about sales — whether you're pitching a modest insurance package or a lucrative channel sales partnership — is that you're appealing to the human condition, which stays constant. Broadly speaking, psychology doesn't change from person to person. That is, we all respond to the same triggers in remarkably similar and predictable ways.

So when a prospect takes your call, use these techniques to captivate her attention:

  • Say her name. This'll release endorphins in the prospect's brain, making her feel good.
  • Every so often, pause. This will give her time to process information.
  • Preface important points with, “This is crucial.” This is an external cue to focus her attention.
  • Speak softly, slowly. This is an internal cue to focus her attention.

Finally, make sure your message is clear and concise in your own mind before reciting it to your prospect. This will give you confidence. More importantly, it'll give the prospect confidence.

Send an email

If you can't find a common contact or get your candidate on a call, try sending a cold email.

This strategy typically yields a lower response rate, but you can increase your odds by following these best practices:

  • Use a short, concise subject line.
  • Keep the email copy short and concise, too.
  • Give a clear reason as to why you're reaching out.
  • Use links rather than attachments to avoid spam filters — use bit.ly to keep them short.
  • Include a call-to-action or a bold, specific phrase that asks the recipient to take the next step.

Bonus: use Yesware to track the messaging (e.g., subject lines, email copy) that delivers the highest response. Understanding this data will help you optimize your message — and, in turn, your success rate — over time.

Resources

Want more information around channel partner engagement? We've curated some great content on this below:

Stay tuned for step 3 in this 5-part series: How to Close Your Partner

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