Every day, I spend at least 15-20 minutes cleaning my inbox, mobile, and InMail from prospecting messages. Mind you, these are not spam, but legitimate prospecting messages from people trying to catch my attention. The majority, I never open, I just delete. Every once in a while, one catch’s my attention and I skim it.
Prospecting has always been a challenge, but these days, it is even more challenging. Getting someone interested and to respond to an outreach is really difficult.
Part of the challenge is standing out in the sheer volume of messages that prospects receive. As I’ve whined about before, the prevailing strategy in marketing and sales is a volume oriented strategy, even though we know how ineffective it is. Somehow, by increasing the volume of messaging, as well as the number of channels we inundate with messages gets just enough response (though one questions the quality of the response).
But great prospecting messages do stand out. It doesn’t require volume, just messages that are meaningful to the targets.
But even then, too often, we go astray.
In the past several weeks, I’ve actually responded to a number of outreaches. We are actually looking for several solutions to support our growth plans.
In one email exchange, I had responded to an outreach. The sales person responded, trying to demonstrate his knowledge about our business. He even claimed credit for his research, “I’ve spent time looking at your blog, your website, and studying your social profile…….” He went on to make statements about what we were doing—that actually had no remote connection to what we do or anything that could be construed in the research. When I pointed it out, suggesting he may have confused me and our company with someone else, he doubled down on the claims (I suspect he may have been trying to be a challenger.). I decided that he was so far off in understanding what we do, that his ability to help us would probably be minimal.
Another, on a call we had arranged, had not even taken the time to do basic research. He didn’t understand what business we were in, he didn’t ask why I might be interested and what we were trying to achieve. He went on pitching his product a d trying to arrange a demo. When I asked, “How do you know what we might want to see in a demo,” he ignored that, saying, “We’d like to show you our capabilities….” Needless to say, we didn’t take him up on his offer.
Too many are focused on their objectives for the call, without ever asking about our objectives, both for the meeting and what we are trying to achieve. And those few that do struggle to engage because they don’t understand our business (or our type of business), so they can’t engage in a meaningful conversation.
A few others never even replied to our queries…..
It’s so tough to get people to respond to our prospecting outreach, we must treat each response like gold. We have to take the time to do our homework in preparation for the meeting. We have to understand what’s driving the prospect’s interest, and we have to focus on the issues they care about, not those things we care about or what our scripts tell us we should do.
Prospecting is tough, but too often, we make it tougher than it should be.