What Does It Take to a Have a First Conversation With a Prospective Buyer These Days?
So much for the common courtesy of what many used to say on their voice mail—"Leave a message and I will return your call within three hours or by end of day"! The director of marketing for a large community college put it bluntly: "Unsolicited sales calls, we tend to ignore them to be honest."
It seems more and more that a vendor has to be connected through someone to get a chance at breaking through. Some of the "Turning the table" panelists told us that if you catch them on the phone they'll talk to you—but you have to quickly create a compelling reason for them to meet. You have to do your research on the company and the role of the person you are calling and then immediately communicate how your offering will help them generate additional revenue, give cost savings or address a pain point. The sad reality? Our powerful panelists said very few salespeople are doing a good job of articulating a good reason to meet.
Some panelists told us that referrals are a way to get your toe in the door. Out of respect for the referral name, buyers may feel compelled to listen to you.
- Do your research on the company and contact person. Visit the company website, Google them, and check them out on LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more about how you can "connect" with this company and person.
- Quickly articulate a compelling, customized message on how your service offerings will help this person. Be prepared to explain the benefit of meeting with them.
- Use a variety of media to reach and connect with this person. The options include phone calls, referrals, LinkedIn, BBM, direct mail and handwritten letters. The effectiveness of the medium will vary depending on the person you are wanting to meet with. Use a variety of touch points to reinforce your strong, compelling message.
According to our powerful panelists, very few salespeople are putting in the work to prepare for their first contact with a client. This means an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself—if you're willing to put in the work.