How Do You Warm Up Completely Cold Prospects?
What do you think most professional buyers can smell when they first meet a new salesperson?
I’m aware that’s a bit of an odd question (with a fairly obvious comedic answer) – but I’m asking because I’ve just been reminded that Queen Elizabeth thinks everywhere in the world smells like fresh paint.
You see – everybody who The Queen goes to visit wants to look their very best – and so they decorate their rooms and spruce up the outside of their buildings just before she arrives – and therefore the air in her world is constantly intermingled with the aroma of some remnant of recently brushed paint.
So what has this got to do with prospecting for new business?
Well – I know all too well that there are times when prospects make it incredibly difficult for you to get in front of them – and when they do eventually grant you an audience – there are occasions when they just start laying into your product or service before you’ve even had a chance to get going.
Once – while working for a large, international company – I was asked to launch a secondary brand with a ridiculously tiny budget – and also told to make sure we were challenging the brand leader by the end of the year.
If that wasn’t going to be tough enough – other similar products were entering the marketplace with a HUGE FANFARE – while our bag of pennies didn’t even guarantee covering a large taxi fare.
But that didn’t matter to the top brass, the directors on the fifth floor had decided that if the launch was to be deemed a success then we needed to get 5 key accounts on board – and I looked after two of those target accounts.
They were my two biggest customers and I really didn’t want to upset them – never mind insult them – with a barrage of calls for meetings about something that appeared to be of absolutely no interest and didn’t fit – in any way – into their current plans or internal targets.
And I knew the first thing they were going to ask me was;
“We’ll only consider this if you create some customer demand – what does your advertising budget look like?”
And the only answer I had would have meant being shown the door before I’d even got to my fancy graphs or Nielsen data.
I was then appointed to run the launch team (which really added to the pressure on me – I think everyone else ran a mile from the opportunity) and so I gathered together representatives from brand and trade marketing, the field sales team and national accounts.
After eight hours of telling each other why it couldn’t be done, deep deliberation and hitting a number of brick walls – we had a bit of a eureka moment.
“We Were Going to Make The World Smell Like Fresh Paint for The Purchasing Departments Within Each of those Top 5 Accounts”
Whenever these accounts turned a corner they would see evidence of our success and marketing superiority.
The first part of this plan involved using our tiny budget to invest in 10 large billboard posters around the country.
Now – that might seem ridiculous, pointless and a waste of our resources – but these 10 posters were all going to be placed on the main roads that led to the head offices of our ten target customers.
There would only be a couple of posters covering each commuter route – but if you worked in the head office of any of those businesses, then there was a good chance that you were likely to see this advertising campaign.
Which meant that at each of the presentation meetings – before the question was asked by the buyer – we would enquire;
“What do you think of the advertising campaign for the launch?”
If by some slim chance they hadn’t seen any of the advertising boards – and a number of them hadn’t – we’d ask if it would be alright to take a straw poll of their colleagues and fellow office workers.
Turned out these straw polls delivered a 95% positivity rating – which wasn’t much of a surprise to us, but it was to the purchasing departments.
True – the boards weren’t everywhere – but they were deployed in a way that made the difference that we needed them to make – and if asked, we could indeed confirm in all honesty that the campaign was most definitely national (if not a little….sparse).
Not so long ago, I condensed the four steps of the sales process into a simple acronym – E.A.S.E. – and the first of those four steps is Earn the Right
I can’t tell you how vitally important that first step is. If customers don’t trust you to help them at the beginning of the process, they sure as hell won’t trust you with their money at the end of it.
For some reason the salespeople who need to understand this part of the sales process the most, are usually the ones who skip over it.
But there are so many ways that you can change the outcome of a call before you’ve even made it.
And RIGHT NOW – there isn’t a business on earth who can afford to employ sales people who don’t deliver the appropriate return on investment
It’s at times like this that you need something to amplify your message – to bring prospects and customers out of woodwork so that you know who and where they are.
That’s why we developed our Small Group LinkedIn Article Writing Webinar
Everyone who joins me on this webinar spends 90 minutes, working step by step through my article creation template, to write their very own personal customer attracting article
There are only ever 4 people on each webinar and we…
- Work through the same article template that got a client a seat at the table for a previously “unwinnable” account – and then close a £2 million contract
- Write an article live on the day – and then I show them how to structure it so that it pulls prospects towards them
- After that I organise an additional 15 minute private consultation with each person to help polish the article to perfection
So, do you need compelling content and a proven structure that’ll keep your prospects reading right to the end and then take action?
We were oversubscribed last week – so we’ve decided to do it all again next week
Be great if you could join us – The LINKEDIN CUSTOMER ATTRACTING ARTICLE WEBINAR
“If you are involved in sales and would like to be more effective on LinkedIn then this is a fantastic programme. I participated last week and found it engaging and highly motivating. Great value for money as well.”
Adrian Leatherland – Director – Aero BD