Source: inc.com

Today's buyers are getting harder to reach. Marketing automation, though still a powerful tool, has also unleashed an epidemic of mindless, impersonal outreach. Buyers are bombarded with irrelevant pitches by phone, email, and even through their social networks. As a result, they act the way most of us do when pestered with annoying chatter--they tune it out.

In an increasingly loud and overcrowded business environment, salespeople face the incredibly difficult task of finding a way to rise above the noise and get their message through in a clear and compelling form. Unfortunately, this is something that most salespeople are never trained for. The majority of new sales reps cycle through their tasks without stopping to really question what makes their approach uniquely appealing. The sales environment is getting more competitive, yet most organizations rely on sales processes that are fundamentally the same as they were five years ago.

Sometimes the jump from just making calls to actually grabbing your prospect's attention is an uphill battle, but there are a few things you can do to increase your odds of getting more prospects to respond to your sales message and eventually win the deal.

1. See where they're coming from... and make sure you're coming from the same place. To give yourself a decent chance to connect with a buyer, the first step is to get them to pick up the phone. Calling from an unrecognizable out-of-state number, or worse a 1-800 number, is never a good way to inspire trust in a stranger. Something as simple as calling from the same area code can dramatically boost chances of conversion. One HR company outside of Silicon Valley called Zuman was recently able to boost its connection rate by 55 percent, simply by switching to a sales dialer that used a local number for outgoing calls. It's an incredibly simple change that could end up making a huge difference in your final numbers.

2. Strike an unexpectedly familiar chord. Common ground is the foundation of many a close relationship. Just like you're far more likely to check out a restaurant based on the recommendation of a friend than because of a banner ad, prospects are more likely to pay attention to you if you have a mutual connection, common interest, or common association with an organization. That in turn means that salespeople need to know those things in advance. Before you call or email the prospect, do some digging. If there's common ground that you can establish at the outset of the deal, you'll be far better positioned to win buyers' trust--which is ultimately the most important step toward converting opportunities. According to Aberdeen group, bringing a personal touch to email alone raises response rates by 10 percent and click-through rates by 14 percent. Those numbers speak for themselves.

3. Use your channels wisely. In sales, there's a time for email, there's a time for phone calls, there's a time for texts, and there's a time for social. Too many salespeople default to email because it's easy--but then risk getting lost in the slew of junk mail that business people are subject to every day. Phone calls are significantly more effective, yet they can also seem invasive if used incorrectly. The best approach is a balanced combination of multiple communication channels. This might, for example, mean sending a text message to alert a buyer about a scheduled meeting, and an email wrap-up afterward. This approach keeps you top-of-mind with your buyer and gives you a better chance of delivering a message that truly resonates. For tips and information about the ideal combination of channels and methods, check out the Ultimate Contact Strategy report published by my company, Velocify, which outlines the ideal approach to outreach.

4. Use the eight second window of attention to your advantage. According to research from Microsoft humans have an eight second attention span, shorter than the notoriously ill-focused goldfish who generally lose focus after nine seconds. If you can maximize that short eight second window of opportunity when it comes around, you'll increase your opportunities for conversations. Consider leveraging software like Velocify that alerts you the moment a prospect is on your website, or opens an email from you so you can call them within seconds. The element of surprise will help you make a connection with the buyer fast and give you eight more seconds of fame to try and extend the conversation further.

With email click-through rates hovering around 3 percent and eight cold call attempts needed on average to reach a prospect today, it is more important than ever that salespeople get smart about how they conduct sales outreach. Prospects are getting pickier, and it's a salespersons job to respond appropriately. Use these tips to distinguish yourself, and you'll emerge from the noise and start opening doors and closing deals.