In politics a very hot topic, but here it’s about giving your prospects a choice! A choice to say “Yes” or “No” quickly and safely.
Sales is a process, especially in a consultative sales environment and it starts with choosing the right prospect.
1) First, we need to research and target a prospective client company (Is it a good fit? Is it a good use of our time?)
2) Then we need to find the decision maker within that organization. Once we have that information, we can safely assume (looking from the outside in) that the person we are targeting could be a good prospect for our service offering.
3) The next step is to craft a message that will resonate. It should be succinct, to the point and relevant to our audience.
Recently, I was planning a trip to a southwest state capital. We are implementing a sales training program for a client in that area. My thinking was, why not tag on a number of sales meetings? This way I can make more use of my plane ticket and the 5-hour travel time.
While I was crafting my e-mail copy I remembered a best practice that I used a couple of years ago, but had forgotten since then. In one of my mastermind mentor groups we had recently discussed the importance of this practice for both the prospect as well as the service provider.
It is the art of having a prospect choose you based on selected criteria that you apply. It’s an easy way to get to a quick “no” if they don’t fit the criteria, but also a sure way for prospects who are a good fit for your service offering to select you.
Here is how it works.
In my email I pointed out that I would be traveling to the area where they are located at the end of the month. (First criteria: they need to be located in the area and available at that time)
Then I continued to describe what my clients generally have in common. Here’s a partial list:
1) Their revenue is at least $10Mio.
2) They are sales oriented and have at least one (ideally more) sales locations.
3) They embrace or would like to embrace a consultative sales approach.
May I share with you what happened?
I reached out to 50 companies. I had two responses and they both resulted in meetings. Qualified, good meetings.
One of the prospects immediately e-mailed me back saying,
“I got your e-mail, I visited your website and it looks like there could be a fit. Let’s meet”.
The reason why many of my existing clients are reluctant to do the “self-select” messaging, I believe, is a very simple and human one.
They are afraid to miss out.
And now that I think about it, that was probably the reason why I had “forgotten” my own best practice.
Deep down we all feel that quantity is one of the keys to success. The more, the better.
It’s what we have been taught. It’s all around us in the media, advertising, marketing.
Almost brainwashed! But not completely!
And it really couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to utilizing a consultative sales model.
The more targeted your approach, the better. The more you invite rejection or silence (no responses), the higher the likelihood that the meetings you book will be of high quality.
Why? Because your prospects will be very clear of who you are looking for in a future client.
I would gladly add another day or two to meet with prospects on my training trip to the southwest.
It means potential new business!
If the meetings are not qualified however, it could end up being a waste of my precious, already strained time. But most importantly, it could be a waste of my prospect’s time and leave a bad impression.
We’re here to serve – not to force ourselves on others. If we decide to be selective and targeted, our prospects will appreciate it and we will end up with better meetings.
BUT, there will be a lot of silence and the response rate will be a lot lower. On the other hand, you will be running a lot fewer empty miles.
For some sales people it’s hard to live in silence. Can you handle it?