All too often, we limit the equation of success to having a product with specific benefits and a compelling presentation. But if your presentation is conveyed to the wrong audience, it will be met with boredom and disinterest.
Some “sales gurus” will advocate that you should present to the highest level you can reach within an organization. But what do you do if, frankly, your product or service is too granular in scope to engender interest from the highest levels of the organization?
That is why you need to identify the person who has a vested interest in the product or service that you are advocating.
Finding such a person is not that difficult. For this particular campaign, I acquired a directory of health care organizations within my specific target market. These directories listed the senior leadership. There were two potential roles that would likely be interested in this product. Where the product would have value was dependent on the organizational design and structure.
I decided to call both. I recognized that the person that I called might not be the appropriate person so I decided to employ two tactics. The first was to explain in detail in voice mail the compelling benefits and why this would be interest. Where I could not get into voice mail – where a gatekeeper blocked me or where I could only leave a message – I employed a second tactic.
In these circumstances, I leveraged the lessons from Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. (Please note: I have reviewed this book on this site. Search Cialdini if you wish to understand his work in a few short posts)
Knowing that people naturally liked helping others, I courteously and passionately asked if I could be directed to the right person and explained what my product provided. An overwhelming number provided me with the name and the number of the person I should be contacting. Additionally, I now had a referral to bring to the discussion as indeed I was being advised to call a particular person. My cold call was transformed into a warm lead.
A brief digression…
Personally, I am very comfortable employing this approach. When I represent an exciting new product that can make a difference, I view what I am providing as a unique opportunity for my prospect. If my product allows them to deliver better value to their clients…well, what could be better than that?
Additionally, with cold calling, there is a unique challenge. Your prospect likely doesn’t know that your product exists so he or she can’t seek you out. In fact, by providing a compelling benefit and solution, you, the salesperson, are opening new horizons and possibilities for your prospect. By making their company more competitive, efficient or valuable, you are contributing to the well being of their clients, employees, families and the overall marketplace and economy.
This is why sales, if done appropriately, is a very noble profession.
Back to the topic at hand…
I have found that it takes, on average, at least seven calls to the same prospect over a three-week time frame to get a call back. This is because the prospect needs to know that you are so enthusiastic about the offering that you are presenting and you will not go away without a response.
As to what that intriguing voice mail sounds like…that is the subject of our next post.