There are still too many people writing that effectiveness in sales requires an approach that is mutually exclusive, that you must do “this” but not “that.” Most of the time, the new thing is described as being the right choice, and anything that has come before, regardless of its effectiveness, is dismissed as something one must not do.
This is not the way a complex, dynamic human interaction like selling works. If there was one answer, one approach that guaranteed success, everyone would use it, and selling would be a science, something it most definitely is not. The thing about human interactions is that what works in one case may or may not work in another, even when the fact patterns are similar.
Never Cold Call
As soon as you read the words “never” or “always,” you have just accepted mutual exclusivity, and you have cut yourself off from choices.
“Never” cold call cuts you off from the possibility of calling your dream client and scheduling an appointment now. If you have to wait until you have some other form of engagement, you have agreed that the speed in which you make a new connection and create a possible new opportunity is not a factor to consider.
“Always” cold call cuts you off from the possibility of asking for a referral or an introduction from a connection that would happily introduce you to your dream client. Why would you cut yourself off from what may be a faster and more effective method of developing a relationship?
If you can “never” pitch your dream client, then you have just cut yourself off from sharing with them a vision of a better result that they could produce—or that they should already be producing. If you believe that you are working in service of your clients, then you have to make the decision to make the best choice based on the situation. Sometimes that choice may be to pitch them an idea, especially if you have a deep relationship, trust, and a group of people who need your help defining their future state.
“Always” pitch eliminates the decision to understand where your client is in regard to change, what they need right now, and their readiness to consider the big idea that you want to share. Pitching before your dream client is at the point where a pitch serves them is a poor choice, and it likely means that you so far in front of your dream client that you disconnect them from the process.
Always Lead with Insight
“Never” lead with insight is to believe that discovery is a series of questions that you ask to discover your prospective client’s existing pain points and all the reasons they believe they need to change. This concept cuts you off from the possibility that your prospective clients doesn’t believe that they need to change, something that is more and more true, right now, anyways.
“Always” lead with insight is to ignore the fact that some of the companies and people you call on already have a base of knowledge that has given rise to the need for change, that they have a well-developed idea about what they need, and that they are not searching for a greater depth of insight, but are instead looking for someone who can help them achieve the results they have decided they need.
In sales, there are no rules, and you have to know them all. Effectiveness requires that you be able to assess the situation in which you find yourself and make what you believe to be the most effective choice based on the facts as you perceive them.
There is not a single path to a deal. There are many paths, some straighter and easier, some steeper and more difficult.
Not “always.” “Not “never.” Not mutually exclusive. Instead, the right choice in light of what is necessary to serve your dream client where you find them.
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Filed under: Sales Knowledge