Taking the Bait

From time to time, your dream client will answer your cold call and ask you to tell them a little about your company and what you do. You will be tempted to respond to that question by answering it, responding to the prompts you were given. You will talk about who you are, your role, and how long you’ve been with the company. And then, having provided that information, you share what your company does. Asked and answered.

As soon as you finish speaking, your dream client says something like, “You know, we’re happy with our current partner right now.” The politely thank for the call, and you hang up without an appointment. By taking the bait and answering these questions, you have ensured that you sound just like every other salesperson in your space, confirming that there is no real reason to meet with you.

This same thing can happen when you secure an appointment. Your prospective client greets you, invites you into a conference room, and says, “Tell me about your company.” If there is something more interesting than your company, I am not sure what it might be. Even if you have a line that describes how you help your clients, you’re still talking about you, your solution, and your company. A better approach, and one that lets you make a much better pivot to a more meaningful conversation, but still taking the bait.

Sales is all about choices, and one choice you might make is to make an effort to control the process.

You could recommend that you first spend a little time sharing ideas about the challenges everyone in your dream client’s space is going to need to solve in the next 18 to 24 months. You could ask them to give you feedback on some of the questions that you believe they are going to have to answer with their own management team. You could simply ask to have a conversation about some of the things they find most interesting or pressing now, as a way to frame up what you share with them when you do talk about yourself, your company, and your solutions.

Within the first few minutes of a call or meeting, you can give your prospective client an impression of who you are and what level of value you may be able to create for and with them. If you sound like a salesperson from 1997, you are going to be perceived differently than someone who sounds like they’re from 2017. You want to enter conversations as a value creator, a trusted advisor, and a consultative salesperson. Refuse to engage with clients in any way that makes you less than that.

Filed under: Sales Acumen

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