Your dream client spends money in your category. They usually spend a lot in your category. This is one of the reasons (but only one of the reasons) that make them a dream client. If a company doesn’t spend money in your category, it cannot be a dream client and you must mercilessly disqualify it.
I know what you are thinking: “But what if they would benefit from what we offer? What if once they see what we do, they change and decide to become a big spending dream client in our category?” Selling to companies that don’t buy what you sell is a long, difficult road that ends with missed quotas and a career change.
All of the best dream clients in your category are already taken; it makes sales challenging and a game for real professionals. If it were easy, anybody could do it.
Already Using a Competitor
Your best dream clients are already using your competitors, plain and simple. This is why you want them. If they weren’t using your competitor, they wouldn’t even be a target, let alone a dream client.
One of the defining characteristics of a dream client is that you have the ability to do revolutionary, mind-altering, and earth-shattering work for them; you have the ability to make a difference. But your dream client doesn’t have the ability to put their business on hold and wait for you; they have found a provider that they are working with to try to create value and to achieve the outcomes they need in order for their business to succeed.
When you call your dream client, you should expect to hear that they already have a provider. If they aren’t using one of your competitors, it is likely they don’t use your product or service and you should hang up as quickly as possible and move on to something that has the potential to let you generate results—for you and for your dream client.
Has a Deep Relationship
Your dream clients are difficult to penetrate. They have long and deep relationships with one (or more) of your competitors. They don’t take those relationships lightly, and neither do your existing clients.
They have developed the relationships with your competitor that allows them to get what they need when they need it. They have already worked with your competitor to learn to be effective together, they have all the political skids greased, and they are through the sometimes-steep learning curve.
Were this otherwise, your dream client would most likely be dissatisfied or on their way to being so. When you call your dream client, expect to hear that they have a deep relationship and that they are not interested in changing.
Will Take Time and Nurturing
Penetrating your dream clients and earning the right to compete for their business takes time and nurturing. There are no shortcuts to developing the trust that will later allow you to win: you have to create value for your dream clients long before you have that opportunity and even when you are not sending them an invoice.
But knowing that this true, you should be encouraged to spend your time developing and nurturing these relationships, even if they take a long time and even when you are creating value and claiming none. Ultimately, your dream clients are the clients that give you the best opportunity to make a difference, and making a difference is what you and your company get paid to do. Your dream clients are the clients that, when they are eventually won, make the all difference for you, for your company, and for your sales results.
Know that you are going to have to put in the time to nurture your dream clients and to create the kind of value that will later earn you an opportunity.
Waiting For (Or Building) The Real Trigger Event
The real trigger event that shifts a dream client from satisfied to exploring their options in dissatisfaction. When they become dissatisfied, they become open to exploring change. You will either have done your time developing and nurturing the relationships that will open the opportunity up to you and your company, or your competitors will have done so (respect your competition).
There is no way to know when that dissatisfaction will build (or when you will have spent enough time in the trenches to have built it yourself), but you must be there when the trigger event occurs to know. This means that you spend your time with your dream clients, even when they have a provider, even when they have deep relationships, and even when it feels like your efforts at nurturing are going nowhere.
Ultimately, winning your dream clients is what it takes to generate great results in B2B sales. It isn’t easy, but it is still easier than trying to sell to people and companies who don’t buy.
Your best, most interesting, and most profitable dream clients are already taken. Work on these dream clients anyway, and avoid prospects that easier to penetrate but where no value can be created and none captured.
- Look at your list of dream clients. Are there company names on that list that don’t already spend money in your category? Why are they on your list? Have you converted prospects like these into dream clients in the past? Over what period of time?
- Are some of the entries in your pipeline really just report fodder? Are they prospects who have no real potential to spend in your category and where you can’t do anything cool enough to make a difference for them?
- Do you continue to call on your dream clients, knowing that they have deep relationships with your competitors? Will you later be benefited by the same deep relationships and loyalty that now show your competitor?
- Do you have a plan to nurture your dream clients over time, creating value for them even when you have no ability to capture any?
- Do you have relationships three and four levels deep within your dream client that you have nurtured well enough to notice or be alerted to any dissatisfaction as soon as it appears?
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Filed under: Sales 3.0