What Does It Take to a Have a First Conversation With a Prospective Buyer These Days?
For more than 10 years, I have committed my Friday mornings to making 10 phone calls to grow my business. This has proven to be one of my secret business growth strategies, and it has worked extremely well ... until recently. On average, I used to make 10 phone calls and speak to at least three people—setting up meetings, securing proposals. It was always a great way to end my week on a high note. People always seemed receptive to the phone calls because they were in a better mood on Fridays, and I was able to move the numbers on my sales dashboard.
Well, during this past year my success rate at reaching a live person or even getting a returned phone call or e-mail has diminished. So, on behalf of my clients and sales community, I decided to do some research on what it takes to have more purposeful sales conversations with prospective buyers and clients. I started interviewing a cross section of buyers—CEO, general managers, human resources managers, VPs, purchasing buyers and a director of marketing. These roles represented a variety of industries—hotel, media, community college, insurance, pharmaceutical, etc.
My first question to these buyers was, "What does a salesperson have to do or say to get a first meeting with you—and what medium works?" I was so amazed at the value and diversity of the responses I received that I decided to host a webinar with a live panel to share the powerful insights and advice I was hearing. The result was "Turning the table: Clients tell us how you can win their business was the result."
In today's multi-media world, time is limited and there are so many more communication channels to manage now than there used to be. What medium is most effective for salespeople to reach out to clients? Responses uncovered in our webinar ranged from "handwritten letter" to "BBM." One of the most startling responses we heard from several panelists is that good old fashion telephone calls and voicemail are being ignored by most.