This morning, I’m doing work in a rare day in the office. A sales person calls. He’s actually pretty interesting, but I pause him mid-pitch, asking, “What caused you to call me now? Is there something that caused you to think it’s critical for us to talk about the issue this week, versus in 6-9 months.”
I have to credit the sales person, he was at least honest with me, “Your company is on my call list for today, but I don’t know what you might be interested in…..”
We know why we, as sales people, want to call people now–we’re prospecting, we’re looking to find new opportunities. We use our triggers to call the customer–they are on your list, you have a new product or program, ….. They are all reasons that are important to you, not the customer. So why should they listen?
But think about it from the customer point of view, it’s a reasonable question. You are calling out of the blue, interrupting the customer, asking to talk about things that interest you — and, hopefully, — her. But why are you calling her now?
Stated differently, why should she be paying attention to you now, versus 3 months from now, 6 months, next year?
I like to prioritize my prospecting based on some compelling event–something that you are aware is happening with the individual or the company, something that may be happening in their industry, markets, with their competitors, that may impact them. Yeah, I know marketing will tell you a download of a white paper is a compelling event–it maybe–but, it’s pretty weak, I’d prefer to find something stronger.
I have to confess, secretly I’m a stalker. Not the kind you think! I stalk my ideal customers. I watch what’s happening to them, I watch what’s happening in their industries and markets, I look for things that should be important to them–possibly they are aware of them, possibly not. These provide the basis for a conversation, they provide a reason the customer might be interested in talking to me this week/month, rather than in 9 months. These are often called trigger events or trigger activities (there is a difference–you can drive the trigger activities, trigger events are things that happen that you can leverage.)
For example, one of my long term clients, Jerry. Jerry was EVP of Sales for a Fortune 100 company. I noticed some major changes happening in their markets, with many of their key customers. I noticed Jerry’s CEO making comments about those changes and the impact on their business. And I knew that we were one of the best companies to help Jerry address these issues with his sales team.
This created a compelling reason for me to call Jerry and a compelling reason that he might want to talk to me right now. I remember our first call, “Jerry, I’ve noticed this is happening…..”
Every prospecting call, there is a compelling reason, not my compelling reason, but one that I expect will be compelling to the customer. It is always about something happening now that is likely to impact them. As a result, my hit rate on these prospecting calls is very high. People want to talk because I’ve identified a reason they might want to talk.
Compelling reasons are easy to find. If you are knowledgeable about your customers, their markets, their customers, their organizations, it’s easy to find them. But you have to make the time to figure these out.
It’s easy to develop a compelling reason for a campaign at a number of customers. If you see something happening in a certain industry or market, that impacts customers in your ICP, you can call each of them, discussing that issue, learning the impact on them.
We know each of us has a compelling reason to make a call, we want to find new opportunities. But the customer doesn’t care about your compelling reason, they care about theirs.
Do you know, from your customers point of view, why you should be talking to them now! If you don’t you aren’t ready and they won’t be ready.