We all recognize this, “This is what we do….,” or some variation of this appears in the first or second sentence of every prospecting message we get. The rest of the message goes on to explain more of what the sender’s company does. Perhaps they talk more about products/services. Maybe they brag about their premier customer list. Or it’s something about how fantastic their company is.
And they end the same way, “Please schedule time on my calendar to learn more about the fantastic things we do and how you can take advantage of them…” And there is the obligatory Calendly link.
Sometimes, the opening sentence tries to establish some sort of credibility, “We work with companies like yours…..” but they never seem to have knowledge about what our company does.
And sellers wonder why response rates are so low. Unless someone happened to wake up thinking, “I need a new ERP system…” or, “We need to add more to our tech stack, we are falling behind…” or “I wonder if there are products out there that to this…;” the probability of somebody saying, “I need to consider buying what this company sells,” is very low–probably non existent.
Sellers know these things don’t work–or at least the results they produce are far below what they need. Yet, 99.998% of prospecting emails use this approach.
This doesn’t mean that prospects doesn’t need a solution sellers are presenting. They just aren’t thinking in the context of the way sellers present themselves.
Prospects and customer tend to think in their own terms, not product/solution terms. They think, “We don’t seem to be as effective in [doing this] as we used to be….” “We’re seeing these things happening in our markets, what does this mean….” “What should be be thinking about to drive higher levels of growth…” “Our costs seem to be growing faster than our revenue….”
Or they may be so consumed in their day to day work, they may not recognize they can or need to change/improve.
If we start thinking in the terms customers think, we realize we need to change our approach. We might start a prospecting outreach with, “We are seeing these things happening with our customers, how are they impacting you?” “This is an increasingly important issue to organizations in this market, what’s your experience in addressing this?” “How are you responding to this….”
These are the issues customers think about–and they way they think about them. It stands to reason, that if we focus on what they are already thinking about, or should be thinking about, we might improve our ability to generate interest and a response.
And as we go down this path, we recognize that we don’t even have to talk about our products and solutions. All we have to do is engage customers in talking about the things they are doing, the things that challenge them, the changes they are experiencing.
They are far more likely to want to talk to people that can share a perspective about the things they face or are thinking about or should be thinking about. After all, that’s what’s interesting to them.
As we look at extending this, we recognize that we probably don’t have to talk much about what we sell in our first meetings. All we have to do is get the customer talking about themselves, their business and what they are trying to achieve. We don’t need to rush into pitching, we just need to listen and learn.
The added benefit, when we do this, we can then position our offerings in a context the is meaningful to them. We know their initial interests and concerns, we can say, “You see this as a huge issue impacting your future growth. We’ve been working with others in doing these things. This is how we think about this and what it might mean to you….”
Several weeks ago, I posted, “The Secret Formula For Prospecting…” In that, I told people how do prospect me, committing that I would have a conversation with anyone who used that with me. 4 people took me up on it. At the same time, I continued to receive 100s of “this is what we sell” outreaches. I never respond to those.
I’ll make the same commitment in this post. Come to me with issues we are likely to face, changes happening in our markets, opportunities we might pursue. Don’t talk to me about what you sell. Do that, half way decently and you will have earned at least 15 minutes of my time.