By Keith Rosen, MCC
The Executive Sales Coach™
When making a warm call or a cold call, many salespeople are confused as to what their primary goal should be during that first interaction — should you be trying to get the appointment as quickly as possible, or should you be asking more questions?
More questions are certainly part of the solution. However, there’s more to explore here. Take a moment to reconsider the goal of your initial efforts to generate more business. The fact is, getting a face-to-face meeting, product demo, or opportunity to deliver a proposal is not the primary objective of your first interaction with a new prospect. Actually, going for the appointment creates the very obstacle to the sales process that you are looking to avoid, which is hearing “No thanks, I’m not interested,” or worse, “Click.”
On the surface, most people would agree that the end result of an initial cold call or conversation with a potential client would be to “get the appointment” (or move to the next step in the selling process).
In truth, this is the very mindset that often creates the barrier to what we want to happen most. Rather than focusing all of your energy on getting them to meet with you, buy from you, or try your product/service, the initial intention of a cold call is to determine whether or not there’s a good match between you and the prospect.
While this may sound a bit strange, earning the business of a prospect or getting the appointment is not your initial goal. Instead, your primary objective is to determine whether you and your prospect are a good fit. Is there something there that is worth pursuing?
While your traditional approach may be to produce a measurable result, now your primary objective is to discover whether you and your prospect are a good match and if this relationship is worth taking to the next stage. If you feel that you constantly have to push the sales process forward, you’re not taking into consideration that the prospect may simply not be ready, let alone may not be a good fit for you or for what you are offering. Pushing the process forward before a prospect is ready only puts pressure on both of you, fostering an unhealthy relationship from the start. Therefore, instead of asking yourself, “How can I sell this person?” change the question to, “Do I even want this prospect as a client?”
The second question shifts your power back to you. Now, you’re the one making the choice about pursuing the relationship rather than surrendering all of the decision-making power to the prospect regarding whether or not they will buy from you, let alone listen to you.
Notice how this shift in your mindset will also change your approach. Instead of feeling as if you have to convince someone that they should hire you by regurgitating information all over them, now you’re going to want to learn and gather as much information as you can about this particular prospect.
How do you determine if there’s a fit worth pursuing? Typically, you would conduct a process of inquiry or an investigation. Woven into the fabric of any investigation are questions. Instead of the prospect interviewing or qualifying you, this brings new meaning to the phrase “qualify your prospects.” Now you are also the one doing the qualifying. The fact is, the interviewing process goes both ways.
Let’s face it — you and I both know that the ultimate objective of your prospecting efforts is to generate more clients. However, to achieve this goal, it’s just not where you are going to focus your energy and thoughts this early on in the selling process.
Realize that when you prospect, one of your objectives is to open up your prospect’s thinking to the possibility of working with you or buying something from you. As such, if you are looking to change the perception or mindset of your prospects, whose mindset do you think needs to be changed first? Yours.
About Keith Rosen, MCC — The Executive Sales Coach
Keith Rosen is the executive sales coach that top corporations, executives, and sales professionals call first. As an engaging speaker, Master Coach, and well-known author of many books and articles, Keith is one of the foremost authorities on coaching people to achieve positive change in their attitude, behavior, and results. For his work as a pioneer and leader in the coaching profession, Inc. magazine and Fast Company named Keith one of the five most respected and influential executive coaches in the country.
If you’re ready for better results quickly, contact Keith about personal or team coaching and training at 1-888-262-2450 or e-mail email@example.com. Visit Keith Rosen online at Profit Builders and be sure to sign up for his free newsletter The Winners Path.