The Only Prospecting Sales Strategy You’ll Need This Year
Warning: This article might just help sales leaders and sales reps work together to figure out the value that your company can bring to your customers. Proceed this prospecting sales strategy blog with caution!
Working as a marketing executive for the last ten years, I have literally seen thousands of attempts from sales reps to get my attention. Salespeople have tried the “hey, I see you are a Villanova grad, GO CATS!” They’ve also tried: “I noticed that you worked at Kodak, so did my dad!” Occasionally, I also get: “How ‘bout those Patriots,” when they recognize that I live in New England.
Then there’s my latest favorite:
I know you must be very busy since I haven’t heard back yet, which tells me one of three things:
1) You’re all set with your current <solution> and I should stop bothering you.
2) You’re still interested but haven’t had the time to get back to meet yet.
3) You’ve fallen and can’t get up! In that case, let me know and I’ll call someone to help you…
Please let me know as I’m starting to worry!
Let’s be honest for a minute. While these gimmicky approaches can be mildly entertaining, they’re not going to garner results very often.
So what prospecting strategy gets my attention?
A sales rep taking the time to figure out what is on my whiteboard (aka my top priorities) and delivering something that might help me actually solve a problem I have (or helping identify one I’m not aware that I have).This story is about one such sales rep. As a marketing guy, I am always thinking about how our company appears to the world, and how we “measure up” against our competition. Like I said earlier, I get hundreds of emails and vmails per month from sales reps, and once in a while, I even answer my phone. As an executive at a sales training company, I have this morbid curiosity about what I might hear when I do pick up. So one day, driven by this curiosity, I answered a sales call:
Sales rep: “Hello Scott, I know you’re busy, and I have no idea if I can help you with <issue>, but if you can just name your top 3 competitors for me, I can run a report that I think might be of some interest to you. How does that sound?”
Me: (this sounds too good to be true, but I’ll bite.) “Sure, company x, y, z.”
Sales rep: “Okay great, thanks Scott, I will be back in touch in a day or so. Thanks for the quick minute today.”
Me: (What just happened?) “Okay, thanks.”
What happened next was amazing. The report showed up in my inbox the next day and demonstrated to me that I have a lot of work to do as it relates to my competition. My rankings and position in the market were not as high as I thought they were. All of a sudden, I was learning something new about my company and my markets. How did the sales rep do that? How did she know what was on my whiteboard?
Clearly, this rep had done some research. She knew that people in my position within most companies are worried about problems like this. She got my attention by delivering value immediately before she even asked for anything more than a minute of my time. And it worked. We’ve had several conversations since then, and her sales strategy solution is something that might have tremendous value to my company and me.
The next time you’re trying to get the attention of a decision maker, ask yourself this:
- What is on their mind (whiteboard) that my solution can help them with?
- How can I offer them a way to “see it to believe it” before I ask them for anything?
- How can I exceed their expectations of me as a “lowly ol’ sales rep” and deliver a “wow” moment?
- What will I do if they are actually interested? Am I ready to deliver?
As a sales leader, you are trying to help your reps become successful, and as a rep, you are working to ensure that you can deliver real value to your customers. You know that if you do, they will choose you when the time comes. Together, you can collaborate and brainstorm effective ways to bring unexpected value to your customers on the opening engagement, otherwise known as prospecting.
I know I was surprised and delighted when that sales rep accomplished it, earning my time and attention – and I bet your customer will appreciate it too.
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The best way to get to know us is to know what we value. If we teach it we live it, because what we do speaks far more eloquently than what we say. We’ll always choose people over profits, and we’re most fulfilled and effective when we serve. It drives our culture, frames our training programs and transforms the lives of the clients we partner with.