Prospecting idea: have an idea

In a previous post I went on about how uninspiring (and ineffective) it is for a sales person to call a prospect to “just touch base”. On the other hand, I’m all for sales people using the telephone to stay in touch.

So what’s the solution? If you must call what do you say.

Here’s one idea: have an idea.

As you may know I’m fortunate at the moment to sometimes be a buyer and sometimes a seller. Sitting on the buyer’s side of the world I realize that buyers have plenty of problems.

When I was only selling and had been prospecting hard for a long time I started to feel that buyers had no problems. After enough refusals I started to think that buyers had every base covered.

But in today’s crazy understaffed world where every executive is stretched as thin as a spaghetti noodle this is most unlikely.

More likely your prospect lives in a world similar to the one I’m experiencing and seeing all around me. They need to achieve more with less (a lot less would be more like it.). They seem to have way too few resources—whether those resources are people or budgets.

Half the time it seems were so busy running from fire to fire that there’s no time to think. And then there’s the continuous deluge of information to process.

Meanwhile our CEO’s are always moving our targets higher-and-higher. Sometimes it can make my head hurt trying to figure out how to meet these bigger targets with minimal resources. Some good ideas on how to get this done would be close to a godsend. I could really use some tips on how to solve this puzzle.

So if some outside company could give me some ideas on how to meet my revenue targets with my scant resources would I be interested in talking more?

You bet.

I’d be up for milking every bit of information out of that company I could get. It would be super valuable to me find out how to hit my goals. If I thought they that company had some strong ways to help me get there, I’d even try to get a budget to get it done! (Yes, even a budget we have not planned for.)

So when you’re prospecting and if you’re really interested in getting into an account, have an idea. Or at least say you have an idea.

Have the idea match something your particular prospect cares about. For example, someone like me running a (small) business unit nearly always cares about increasing sales. Someone in finance nearly always cares about reducing costs.

Better still customize your idea to a trigger event (a change) that has occurred in your target prospect’s world or in the area your prospect works in, e.g. “I noticed you just acquired such-and-such a company. I have some ideas on how to best integrate XYZ systems that I believe such-and-such uses and how drive down your costs as a result”.

To make this even stronger maybe you can back up your idea with some proof that you can execute your idea, so “I noticed you just acquired such-and-such a company. I have some ideas on how to best integrate XYZ systems that I believe such-and-such uses and how drive down your costs as a result. We’ve just carried that out for Another Company Like Yours Inc.”

If this is an account you really care about and are willing to invest your time in, you can take your research (and idea development) even further by meeting with people who know what is going on in your target account. These people don’t have to be employees of the target company. These just have to be people that know what’s really going on over there. They could be sales people from non-competitive businesses that have relationships with the account and so know what’s going on.

So if you’d like to increase your chances of getting into an account, have an idea.

Your prospect probably really needs some good ideas. Can you come up with some? Are you willing to invest in your target account by spending some time and energy to come up with some ideas to really help them?

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