The thing to remember in selling is to move away from selling a noun, to selling a verb. For example, while Business Process Improvement may be a strike zone capability for your firm, your client is not really buying business process improvement. They're really buying what that enables - the ability to reassign resources, to potentially reduce headcount, or to increase speed to market for the R&D function. So your "verb" mandates that you speak to what it is and what your projects enable. So sell the “enable”.
Here are four things that we can all do to improve our success in prospecting and have more enjoyment in the process.
- Target and Segment: When you know where you’re going, you tend to get there. Warm doors and faces are always easier than connecting with those who we don't know. With these folks, move upstream in their business strategy to find/ source/ capitalize on the issues of the day that can be augmented by your solutions. Solicit introductions from sponsors – 68% of senior executives say they will take a meeting upon the recommendation from a credible internal recommendation. For friends and family networks– tell your story at a 10th grade level – keep it simple, but anchor the value that clients feel when they work with you. Use that to ask for an introduction.
- Leads vs. Prospects: Prospects are qualified leads that have indicated an interest and intention to buy. A lead and a good one, possesses all of the wonderful characteristics of companies/people you are already working with.
- Messaging, messaging, messaging. You need it, they need it. What are you passionate about communicating? What will resonate with that title or role? Your friends and family network also need this – after all, they are your de facto sales force.
- Don’t pursue business you can’t win. If it’s not strike zone, if it's resource intensive or if the client needs to be sold on even thinking about doing something about their problem in the first place – pass. You don't want to have to sell three times – to have to sell the concept of changing their current state with outside help, to sell them on your firm and then to sell them on an actual project. Sell two times, but never three. Save these prospects for follow-up after some of you warmer opportunities develop.