You know how important it is that you acquire meetings with your prospective clients. You are also acutely aware that getting a meeting is rarely easy, and it is something that takes time and an effective approach. It’s vital that you have a strategy for prospecting that results in you sitting down face-to-face or ear-to-ear or video face to video face (as may be the case).
Strategy means more than the medium or method you choose you use. Success has more to do with how you acquire a meeting than either the medium or the technique.
Target Your Dream Clients
It is an incredible mistake to spend time prospecting to people or companies who are not going to benefit from what you sell. Some believe that because they need to make sales, everyone is a prospect. The belief that every name and every phone number is equally likely to need or buy what you sell is a poor decision and one you should avoid.
The first critical prospecting strategy is to define your targets, your dream clients. You want to call on companies and people who will recognize the value you can create for them as being relevant to their business and their results. You also want to target, as best as possible, those who are going to be willing to invest in your solution while allowing you to capture some of the value you create.
An Incredible Value Proposition for a Meeting
When you are prospecting, you are asking your contact to give you the gift of their time. You need to make sure that you use that time wisely—and to your client’s benefit. When you ask for a meeting, you have to provide a value proposition that trades enough value to command that time—even if your client doesn’t buy from you, at least not right away?
In The Lost Art of Closing, we called this “Trading Value.” After targeting, this is the next most important strategy because it is the very key to scheduling a meeting with your dream clients. When what you offer in the way of insights and ideas mean nothing to people who don’t need what you sell.
This strategy, and the two that follow, work well with the first two, supporting and reinforcing each other. The idea of capturing mindshare means shaping the lens through which your contacts view their business, their problems, their challenges, and their opportunities. You help them see something that they couldn’t previously, or you show it to them in a higher resolution, reveling something helpful to their future.
The ideas that you share with your clients are attached to you. You care about the things that will impact their business, and you are on top of what’s relevant right now and the impact on your prospect’s business. One of the ways you prove that you deserve a meeting is previewing the value you promise when you ask for a meeting.
An Effective Prospecting Sequence
Some people love the phone, believing that it is the fastest and most effective method for gaining a meeting (I am romantic about the telephone). Others prefer different mediums, like LinkedIn, even though the automated spamming programs are causing people to ignore their InMail. Those who use this approach damage the platform and making all of us pay for the sins of those who would use technology to execute a brute force approach to gaining meetings.
What is most effective now, however, is a prospecting sequence that allows you to be professionally persistent over time. An effective prospecting sequence is one in which you link together different mediums with which to communicate with your contacts. Getting the chain right improves your results, especially if you can show up in different places, sometimes asking for a meeting, other times capturing mindshare and nurturing the relationship, something we will address in the next strategy.
No Ask Communications and Content
You need to ask for a meeting. You don’t need to ask for a meeting in every communication. You are allowed—and encouraged—to make deposits in the relationships you are trying to build with your contacts and their companies. By providing insights and updates that may help them think about their business in a new way—without making an ask—makes your content a deposit.
“No ask” content breaks up your communication nicely while demonstrating that you are thoughtful and someone who cares about the very results that their contacts are trying to create or improve.
Using Multiple Methods
There is more than the phone and email available to you as prospecting methods. Another strategy worth pursuing is showing up where your contacts are found. The ways that would improve your results and are worth pursuing include client referrals, vendor referrals, cold calling, networking events, conferences, trade shows, social media, email, traditional mail, and showing up at their front door.
Choosing all of the methods that work can improve your prospecting in B2B sales and result in more new meetings, more new opportunities, and winning big deals you might not have won had you limited yourself to a single approach and one devoid of a strategic approach.
In relationship selling, consultative selling, insight selling, or some other modern sales approach, you need a strategy that matches your approach in its professionalism and its ability to create value for your client. You may need to improve your activity to improve your results, but you’d do better to enhance your effectiveness first.
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