Trying to sell to crazy-busy decision makers? I asked Jill Konrath for her expert advice on the subject. Konrath is one of my very favorite authors; she has written two great books: "Selling to Big Companies" and "Snap Selling." Here's what she recommends when you're trying to reach frazzled executives for an answer.
Balance Your Urgency
Sales people, especially those who are also busy running the company, face tons of pressure. There's the internal pressure--what we put on ourselves to close a sale quickly so we can move on. And there's constant external pressure from current clients to meet their demands.
If just try to move the sale along quickly for our own benefit, we are actually creating our own barriers. The sales person is pushing to get the business, but when they're trying to get their foot in the door, the voice mails they leave for their prospects are actually so bad that they get deleted in a nanosecond.
Here's an example. Let's pretend that I want to reach you and you are a busy decision maker--say, vice president of sales. Here's the scenario: third-quarter numbers came out, and they weren't really good, and you, the sales VP, are really under pressure to reach fourth-quarter numbers.
For this exercise, Konrath says, say "delete" when you would delete the voicemail. "Hi Tom, this is Jill Konrath calling. I'm the account executive with Lee-Proctor Strategies. We specialize in offering a full range of training programs ...'
" ... for all your salesperson's needs."
"The reason I'm calling ..."
See, you couldn't wait to get rid of me. Most people will delete you in the first or second sentence. So if you're trying to craft this message that doesn't get deleted, you have to get right to the point and you have to show your intelligence and expertise up front.
Here's a better example: 'Tom, Jill Konrath calling. I saw that your third-quarter results just came out. I know that you're probably under pressure for the last quarter to get something to happen. I've got some ideas on how to get your sales people out their selling. Let's set up a time to talk.'"
I never talked about my stuff, did I? It's all about you, your problem, your issue, your circumstance, and you're jumped right into it and said, "I'm relevant and pertinent to what your problems are, Tom, and I'm going to talk about it."
Stop Making Cold Calls
The biggest fallacy in sales that still exists is that it's a numbers game. The truth of the matter is, it's an ineffective game--and you're making a bunch of stupid calls to people saying the same stupid things that get deleted all the time. That's a waste of time.
What you need to do is focus on crafting messages that your prospect will hear and think, "that's interesting."
Do Your Homework
There's no way you can actually create a message that will resonate with somebody unless you really understand their critical issues and needs. You may say, "How could I possibly know? I've never been there." But the reality of it is, I call on sales VPs all the time, and in the industries that I work with, they pretty much all have the same major issues.
Same goes for you: No matter which decision-maker you're calling on, they probably have some of the same issues. So if you can identify those issues and bring them up explicitly in your sales call, you will stand out from the crowd and differentiate yourself immediately.
Stay tuned for more tips from prospecting expert, Jill Konrath, later this week and to download the full interview audio. For free tools on better prospecting, visit www.JillKonrath.com.