So you’ve reviewed and digested the content that your marketing team has provided your sales team regarding your buyer-persona — great. And naturally, you and your team are engaging in conversations with prospects on a daily basis, so everyone is beginning to better understand the target’s traits and pain points more and more with every call — wonderful.
Now, why not take this knowledge acquisition a bit further, particularly at an expansion stage business where, to a certain extent, you need to be closing deals with limited supporting resources?
Find a buyer-persona mentor. What is this you might ask? A buyer-persona mentor is an individual who, for all intents and purposes, is your dream client. Here’s the catch – you are not going to sell to them. The value of a mentor-relationship can be far more valuable than closing a single deal.
Your buyer-persona mentor embodies your business’ target persona, and is willing to help you better understand the inner workings of their role, their pain points, their organizational structure, their motivation, etc. A mentor can provide great insight into the content you are using — call scripts, emails, one-sheets, etc, as well as win your “hard to crack” prospects with unique angles that only someone in the industry would understand.
When establishing a relationship with a mentor, you need to make it clear right off the bat that you have no intention of selling to them, and or pressuring them in any way shape or form.
So how can you find a buyer-mentor? My best suggestion: LinkedIn.
On LinkedIn, do you have any second or third connections that fit your target persona to a T? If so, reach out through your mutual connection and explain that you are hoping to do some research to better understand the (insert industry here) market, and their role within the organization. Explain that you’d like to have a brief chat with them to pick their brain and learn more about their role. People love to talk about themselves — play into the ego.
Next up: Join the LinkedIn Groups that your potential-mentors are members of… start engaging in discussions to achieve familiarity with your targets in their own community. Taking it one step further: Post content (aka industry articles, blog posts, etc) that you think might be interesting to people in the group…demonstrate that you are relevant. On a side note: make sure your LinkedIn profile appears relevant as well – how can you indicate in your current role that you are focused on your prospect’s industry in particular? Use the job summary feature to your advantage!
If you don’t have any applicable second or third connections on LinkedIn and you are struggling to engage in the LinkedIn Groups, you may need to be more direct, which will undoubtedly be more challenging, but not completely impossible to achieve your desired results. Shoot your target buyer-persona mentor an email explaining your intentions and perhaps pick up the phone and make a quick introduction.
Important note: spend at least a half an hour preparing for a call with a buyer-mentor, particularly earlier on in the relationship. You want your intentions to be crystal clear, and you want to ask as many well-thought out questions as possible to get the absolute most out of your call.
Just last week, I had a conversation with a VP of Sales within OpenView Venture Partners‘ portfolio. Turns out his mother is good friends with a professional who fits the company’s buyer persona perfectly — he has no intentions of laying on the hard sell, however. The VP is turning this connection into a buyer-persona mentor relationship — he has now had multiple conversations with the professional about the company’s pitch and content (“Does it resonate and can you clearly understand the value proposition?”), and he is also having his sales team meet with the buyer-persona mentor on site at the mentor’s office.
You are not likely to get a buyer-persona mentor over night… but if you are smart with your approach, play into the ego of the target, and find some way to express your gratitude in a meaningful way for your mentor’s willingness to engage with you (handwritten thank you card, taking the individual to lunch if they are local, etc), you are likely to build a long lasting professional relationship with a knowledgeable mentor. This mentorship will ultimately help you become a more successful salesperson.