When you work in sales, you don't have to stick to your usual sales playbook. It's important to mix things up to effectively support your prospecting efforts and goals. Matthew Cook, founder of SalesHub, says sales professionals should practice different techniques to better find leads. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we highlight Cook's modern sales prospecting techniques.

Make warm calls. Your initial contact with new prospects doesn't have to be completely cold. Cook says you can increase your chances of a warmer reception by familiarizing the prospect with your name or your company affiliation before you make your first call or send your first email.

Become a thought leader. Cook says you can establish yourself as a thought leader in many ways, including starting a blog, writing guest articles for industry publications or speaking at conferences.

Be a trusted resource. To be successful as a salesperson, you have to do more than sell. You must be your clients' go-to person and support them after you've closed the sale. By changing your position from salesperson of products and services to a provider of solutions, you can increase your chance of getting referrals from happy customers.

Reference a script. For new salespeople, referencing a basic script while prospecting can help them reduce uncomfortable pauses, use the right language and respond to common objections. Experienced sales representatives often recommend not using a script in order to sound more natural during conversations. Whichever route you take, Cook says to make sure you actively listen to your prospects and customize your conversation based on their needs.

Don't sell. If you want to be successful in today's sales environment, you need to focus on building relationships while prospecting, says Cook. Building a foundation of trust can help you and the prospect become more comfortable with each other, so once selling techniques come into the picture, they'll be more effective.

Follow up. Keep the prospect in the loop and a follow up at each step of the deal. Whether you're confirming a time for your next meeting or sending over additional resources, an email or call helps you build a relationship with your point of contact.

Use video. Make your outreach even more enticing to prospects by including a video. Use it to introduce yourself, provide additional content, or to recap your connect, discovery or qualification call.

Block of time for prospecting. By blocking off time to prospect, you'll be better off in the long run because you're actively filling your pipeline, which often results in more conversations and better win rates.

Spend time on social media. Implement a social selling strategy and meet prospects wherever they are, suggests Cook. It's likely that a fair amount of people who've researched your product are active on social media. Answer their questions and share content that's relevant to their research.

While you might not enjoy prospecting, it's a critical part of the job. Just like every other part of the sales process, you must invest the effort and focus to succeed. Make sure you're prospecting efficiently by considering the techniques above.

Source: Matthew Cook is a serial entrepreneur and has more than 20 years of sales and management experience in recruitment and inbound sales and marketing. As the founder of SalesHub, he helps companies generate leads, boost revenue and adapt to the new way customers buy.