Today we have a guest post from Jill Konrath. Jill is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. Ten years ago, Jill was a quiet, unknown consultant who did great work for her clients. Today, she is an internationally recognized expert known for her fresh sales strategies and game-changing approaches. For more, visit www.jillkonrath.com.
Getting through to today’s crazy-busy prospects requires fresh strategies. But, as you’ll learn from the interchange below, not everyone is up to speed on what it takes to be successful. See how Kate the Prospecting Ninja tries to enlighten her manager about what’s actually working today.
“Will you stop staring at that computer and make some calls!” demanded Kate’s boss.
“But, boss,” answered Kate, a sales rep for a growing company. “It’s why I’m doing so well.”
“You could do even better if you’d pick up the phone and start dialing.”
“I know you keep saying that,” replied Kate. “But the truth is, you should be asking me why I’m so much more successful than my colleagues when I make fewer calls.”
“That’s sales heresy. Everyone knows that sales is a numbers game.”
“Okay,” said Kate. “Try these numbers out. You know Hoopla Restaurants, the company I just closed a big deal with last week?”
“Yup! Nice order too – and very profitable.”
“I tracked them online for about six months,” Kate continued. “Then, about 10 weeks ago, they announced a new health-food initiative. That got me thinking they’d need new menus. So I went to their website to take a quick look at their current ones and see if I could discover any ways to help them.”
“Kate, stop right now. Why in the world didn’t you just call their printing people to see if we could bid on their new menus?”
“That wouldn’t work,” she explained. “We’d just be another printer. All they’d focus on would be price. I needed to get to their VP of marketing with some fresh ideas. Specifically, I focused on how to redesign the menus to reflect their new image and increase order size at the same time.”
“You know that’s what our graphics people are for, Kate. It drives me crazy that you’re wasting all that time when you could be calling or setting up meetings…”
“But, boss,” Kate interrupted. “You wanted numbers, so I’m going to give you some. You needed to know the context first.
“Once I knew that I could provide value, I put together a 10-touch prospecting campaign using the phone, email and social media. Each message was slightly different, but essentially the focus was on their strategy, industry challenges and my ideas for how to achieve their goals.
“It took about three weeks, but the VP of marketing finally agreed to a quick video conference. We talked, and he liked what I said. Then he asked me to meet with Terry, the project manager, to flush it out more and get the pricing.
“All told, I made eight contacts to get the business. I had a one-out-of-eight hit rate. And, because I didn’t go to purchasing, I didn’t get into any price wars either – which is why our margins were so good.”
“Kate, you could do so much better if you’d make more calls. I’ll let you keep doing it this way, because it seems to be working – but don’t tell the others. I’m holding them to the activity goals.”
As he walked off to “motivate” another rep, Kate the Prospecting Ninja rolled her eyes and thought, “He’s going to be a tough nut to crack, but I’ll keep working on him till he gets it.”
To learn more about Kate’s success strategies, download “7 Secrets of a Prospecting Ninja.”
Photo credit: mbeo52