In thinking about grabbing the attention of sales prospects, you might picture a hook reaching out and catching them by surprise. It’s not a bad hook; it just makes them stop in their tracks, pause for a moment, and think.
That’s the objective of your sales prospect attraction strategies. So how do you grab your contacts’ attention and get them to respond to you?
Try this: Focus on issues that are already top of mind with them.
Triggering events are changes in their companies, community, or world that will cause your prospects to make an adjustment and possibly a buying decision. A triggering event could be as big as a down economy where people are being laid off, or as small as frustrating computer outages typical in their industry.
Another example: When the federal government established the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy rule, it caused a significant change in business processes for all medical professionals, from hospitals to small doctors’ offices. The HIPAA rule closely governs the disclosure of personal health information for patients, so medical businesses needed help with everything from records scanning and data security to training their receptionists how to sign patients in differently. HIPAA was a compelling triggering event for many businesses and the sellers supporting them.
Whatever the reason, triggering events can be used to catch prospects when the event is top of mind or to remind them of the event. Triggering events aren’t necessarily your main subject once you’re engaged in the sales process; you may find the triggering event isn’t the most significant issue to deal with. However, to grab new contacts’ attention, all your attraction “conversations” relate to the triggering event that you’ve identified as critical to that group.
Determining the grabber triggering event to use is often easier than you think. Start by looking at the problems your customers face in their businesses. Identify the issues you can help address:
- What would change in their businesses as a result of working with you?
- How would your solutions help them?
- How would their companies, people, processes, or products improve?
One consultant who works with accounting firms realized that he helped improve productivity when system outages went away. His customers told him they had seen a direct impact on their overtime costs and employee satisfaction. In this case, computer failure was the triggering event.
Examine your target group and ask yourself the following:
- What are they talking about?
- What is worrying them?
- What is hindering their productivity that you could help with?
- What are they spending too much money on that they don’t need to?
- Where could they increase revenue?
- Where are their business processes bogged down?
- What aren’t their competitors doing?
- What is happening in the world around their businesses that can help or hurt them?
Figure out what’s causing problems. The root cause is the triggering event you’re looking for. Be sure to choose triggering events and issues your solutions can address.
With these challenges in mind, go one step further and think about how they feel when an event occurs. Strong feelings can cause a prospect to immediately pick up the phone and call you. They want to avoid feeling that way again and you can help. Bring the feelings to the forefront of your target market and you’ll grab their attention.
Kendra Lee is the author of Selling Against the Goal and president of KLA Group, which provides sales services specializing in the information technology industry.