Are you getting shut out of too many prospects? Is getting out of voicemail jail locking up your sales energy? It doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve been working with a salesman who was tired of hitting a wall every time he tried to see a new prospect. Here’s what we did to return his sanity–and get him appointments.
First, you have to know which accounts you want to meet. I see too many salespeople who say things like, “A good lead for me is a business with a sales team that’s going to grow.” Which sales team would that be? Instead of a broad request for a lead, you’ve got to be specific.
I told this client to sit down and write down all the companies that he wanted to meet and where he was having difficulty getting in to see decision makers. Then he was to identify his best customers who enjoyed working with him and where he was delivering value.
Then for the next few weeks he was to look at his prospect list before he made a sales call with these good customers. Before the sales call he was to pick 3 names of prospects that he thought his customer might know from industry similarity, location or some other reason.
He could simply ask if that customer knew someone at the prospective account. But that would have limited the pool of people who could have connected him to the prospect. Instead, I advised him to ask a different question. I suggested he ask, “I’m trying to get an appointment with Company X, Y and Z. Who do you know who might know the plant managers there so they can introduce me? Then if that customer knows someone he will introduce you. If he doesn’t, he can think of others who can.
You have other options if your customer says, “I can’t think of anyone who knows those companies.” You could add, “Then would you ask your contacts over the next few weeks for me if they know someone?” It’s not guaranteed that someone will do the asking for you, but if you ask and the person says yes, it’s more likely that he will follow through.
Either way, it’s far easier when someone calls for you and says, “You really need to meet with him.” You can make the introduction more powerful, too. One way to do that is to add why the prospect should meet with you.
In this customer’s situation, I asked him to think of a reason why a prospect should meet with him. He said, “I’ve helped many customers reduce maintenance costs and reduce inventories. I think I can do the same for these prospects.” I told him to add that after he asks for contacts. He would say, “I’d like to meet with them because I’ve helped many customers reduce maintenance costs and reduce inventories. I think I can do the same for these prospects.” Ideally, when your customer calls for you to make the introduction, he’ll add the reason why he should meet with you.