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From my research and analysis of thousands of prospecting calls, I’ve found the three biggest factors that super-charge your chances of getting into a busy prospect’s office are:
- Prospect profile: who to call
- Triggers events: when to call
- Relationships: how to use your relationships to get in by referral or affinity
But at the end of the day if I had to take only one of these to a desert island, I would take relationships.
Because relationships are the biggest factor of all. Nothing beats social capital and the fact that someone wants to help me. I can do the most bang up MBA (and I am one you know) job of segmenting my market down to the exact companies and dudes that should really want to buy my product…but…if those dudes (or dudettes) don’t know me, or don’t know someone that knows me and can vouch for me, they don’t trust me. And when they don’t trust me I’m in the sticky stuff.
So recently when I’ve been faced with penetrating new markets, as I seem to be faced with often. (Ya, it’s like the hardest thing to do so that’s what I seem to gravitate to). I’ve started breaking down my prospect lists in a different way. a non-traditional way and a way that still feels a little odd to me.
Instead of doing the classic what size companies, what geos, what industries routine to define my ideal prospects. I’ve been backing into my prospect list with a much broader definition of target companies and then going straight to an overlay of my social graph – aka who do I know and who do they know. Then making my prospect companies ONLY the ones I can get to via referral or with some kind of common link (in my case my alumni connections.)
It seems awkward and somewhat ill-defined but I know now from many (many) scars that the fastest way to sell (and hence save my bottom) is going to be to go through my connections not through my amazing MBA market-segmentation.
What you say? Make sense? Ever done an exercise like this?
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