How To Prospect In The Internet Age

Prospects do not want unsolicited cold calls or cold emails bombarding them each day.

Would you?!

They resent them and they will resent you if you add to their admin overload.

I only run a small media business and I’m getting over 150 emails a day. It’s a real pain point for me.

Routinely if, they’re not from someone I’m closing a deal with, I don’t know the sender or the subject line doesn’t shout “I’m genuinely going to make your business more successful” I delete the message before I even open them.

The next layer of deleted emails that lay burnt and dead on the floor of my virtual mailroom are the generic ones that make me feel like I’ve been spammed.

“Dear owner”, “Hi [name]” are far to common introductions.


Then come what I call the ‘nice try’ emails.

They are addressed to me personally. Well done.

They may even have a shred of credibility through the sales persons association to a big company. They may even have pulled a slight bit of intrigue and make me feel that this might be something worth reading.

Then they cut short.

They pull out before the best bit. They try and trick me.

“When is it a good time for me to call and see if I can add value to your business”?

I don’t have the time to have someone who I’ve never met consult me on the phone and try and find problems.

I want solutions or entertainment.

Nothing else in my inbox.



Pull push prospecting

Pull push prospecting turns the baity and value suck model of regular cold emails into a future proof prospecting model and can be replicated by skilled salespeople but not automated by marketing.

Would you reply to an email if it was from an industry expert whos blog you regularly read?

How about if they emailed over a couple of thoughtful links, one of which was explaining how to perfect the golf swing you’ve been working on for months?

At the very worst I’d say thank you.

Likely however, I’d try and carry on the conversation…

To achieve this level of immediate interaction requires 3 simple but time consuming steps. The fact that they take time is a positive. It means your competition won’t do it and so you’re going to stand out further.



1) Profile

Having your name known within your industry is simple but it takes effort.

First you need to publish something. Anything.

It could be a blog, you could speak at industry events or you could make helpful videos on youtube. It depends on your industry and where your prospects spend their time.

For me to be seen as an expert within the sales/marketing industry (expert used loosely here) it took writing a book, blogging, building Salesman.Red up to over 5,000 visitors a day and interviewing other industry experts on the Salesman Podcast (expert by association).

Often when I email a marketing director to build a relationship (before I pitch anything) I get an immediate message back explaining that they love the podcast and they’d ‘love’ to take me for a pint (this literally happened this morning which is great apart from the fact that I don’t drink).



2) Pull

The difference between a good email and one that is deleted instantly is how much data you’ve pulled about your prospect.

Once I click that subject line and gmail opens that next window, you have half a second to impress me. If that.

If I see anything about the UK basketball scene, fast rotary engined cars, rock climbing or Internet Selling you’ve got me hook line and sinker.

A quick google search for my name is all it takes to become very clear on my hobbies and what I do out of business hours.

A more sophisticated search leveraging facebook, twitter, linkedin and the other social networks would give you the perfect ammunition to instantly make me like you.

For me to pay attention to you, I’ve got to like you.



3) Push

I recently got straight through a series of personal assistants and other gatekeepers and had a great email conversation with a fortune 100 CEO. I shared a link which showed this family name originated from Manchester, UK and as he supports Manchester United football club he was more than happy for me to take him for a couple of drinks next time he flies over to watch a match.

People used to buy from brands.

Now most brands and products are similar and are quickly becoming commodities.

Heck, I’m not sure if I even trust most big brands with all the tax dodging and shady labour practices that are regularly reported.

People will always buy from people.

If you pull good data about a prospect, package value together and push it to them without expecting anything back they will have no choice but to like you.It’s been drilled into all of us by thousands of years worth of social construct.

All this pushing can get over complicated if you let it.

The reality is you need just two things –

  • Content to push
  • A system to manage who you have connected with and when

You need a robust system to manage when you have pushed content and when you have added enough value to reposition the prospect further down the pipeline.



I use Pipedrive (a partner of the Salesman Podcast) to track my push interactions because their visual format gives me the information I need in seconds to understand where the best use of my time is in that particular moment.

There has always been value in building relationships in B2B sales and until companies start using software to buy products this will always be the best way to close deals.

The days of sucking value and asking for time in prospects calendars to “uncover their problems” is over.

You have to give them a reason to speak with you by offering real value up front.


Table of contents
Get your free book today:
Selling Made Simple
Find and close more sales, like clockwork, without resorting to old school sales tactics.
100% Free sales skill quiz:
Do you have the 15 traits of high performing sellers?
Learn your strengths and weaknesses in an instant. Don't get left behind.
illustration-web-4 1
Do you have the 15 traits of high performing sales people?
Learn your strengths and weaknesses in an instant. Taken by over 10,000+ of your competitors. Don't get left behind.