By Cliff Kiel, Purchasing Power’s VP of Sales. Connect: 

As salespeople, we all know that we aren’t the only ones calling on the people we are trying to sell to – our competition is calling on them as well. So how do we stand apart from the other salespeople contacting the same prospects? When that prospect is ready to make a purchase, you want them to think of you first. These five tips from Salesforce’s Alyce Myerhoff, will do just that.

1. Be Authentic. Be yourself, be interesting and be interested. It can be tempting to pitch, pitch, pitch. But as much as this may seem like a good use of your time, it doesn’t make for an enjoyable conversation for the person on the other end. You can make your conversations different from the ones they are having with other salespeople by letting them get to know the real you. Share an anecdote, ask them about a tweet or post that you saw from them…have a real conversation and really listen to what they have to say.

2. Read. A lot. It is vital for so many reasons that you stay current on news related to your industry. Not only does this allow you to develop expertise that could be helpful to your clients, but it gives you the opportunity to anticipate changes to the marketplace. If you want to really stay on top of things, set an alert for each of your most important clients. You’ll know what is going on with them and also their competition. Passing along useful news and information is a fantastic way to stay in touch and provide value.

3. Always follow through. Every time you say you are going to do something, it’s an opportunity to build trust. So each time you do what you say you are going to do, you are showing the person who you are dealing with that you are trustworthy. This means that if you say you are going to send that proposal tomorrow, do it. If you say you’ll check back in in a week, do it. Even if your prospect doesn’t remember that you made that promise, when you do follow through they get an inkling that you always do what you say you’re going to do.

4. Look for commonalities. The obvious thing is to look for something you may have in common with the person you are talking to. Social media is a great way to do this. Look at your prospect’s LinkedIn profile and scan for things like whether you went to the same university, lived in the same town, or have similar personal interests. You don’t even have to have something in common to build a relationship, you can just ask them about something you saw on their profile. “I see you’re involved with X charity. I’ve been curious about what they do exactly. Can you explain?

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