This post is also available on the Blog Radio.
Every sales rep is looking for maximal response on his actions taken. But much of his actions leaks out with no revenue. The result is higher sales costs per time unit and a lot bad buzz and frustration among sales people, stressing around trying to reaching quota by using quantity measures instead of quality in actions.
Wouldn’t it be relaxing if you know that every action you take will lead to a certain goal? What would such actions be? Is there some sort of best practise?
I’m not sure if there is a sort of best practise. However, I’ve been using a technique that works every time with perfect results. But it’s like walking on the tightrope; if you do one detail wrong you will fall hard.
Some requirements are needed, but surprisingly few:
- Cell phone and e-mail address to the prospect’s highest level top manager
- At least one great success story describing a competitor to the prospect
See, it’s not much. If you don’t have sold exactly the same product or service to the prospect’s competitor, it’s not a big problem, but it will be a little easier later on. The important is, however, that you’ve sold anything to the competitor.
But maybe you say: “it’s a lot of work to get the cell phone and e-mail to a CEO…”. Well, it depends on how you see it. Is it better to waste a hell lot of more hours spent on actions that not lead to anything more than nothing, so go ahead…
OK, so you got the cell and e-mail? Good, now why. Here’s a common misunderstanding. That the CEO will answer when you call or reply to your e-mail. He will not. And why should you then spend much energy search for his number or e-mail? I’ll try to explain.
First of all, prepare a pretty detailed e-mail – but don’t sent it yet! Everything has to be in the exactly right order as I tell you!
The subject have to include your competitor’s name. This is really important, don’t miss that. The body text in the e-mail should in detail describe what you’ve been doing at the competitor’s side and the positive impacts they have got thanks to your solution. Write the text as it was targeted to the business user of your prospect. If you sell CRM systems, the detailed body text should be written for a sales manager, not the CEO. If you sell heat exchangers for industries, the text may be targeted to a maintenance manager. It’s important that the text describes advantages that helps that type of business user.
When you’re ready, save the e-mail (still do not send!). Now it’s time for preparing the phone call. Prepare it for a voice mail situation, because the CEO will not answer when you call. He’s too busy.
The phone call voice mail have to be informative. Not only who’s calling, your number and please call back. Remember, so far you’re a complete stranger to the CEO. You have to present what your reason is for contacting him and – for God’s sake – don’t forget to mention your competitor’s name! It’s also important to end with the phrase: “…to sum up, I will also put together an e-mail for you”. That will legitimates to send it and also, even if the CEO has thousands items in his inbox, in some sense makes him aware that “I haven’t got to remember all of what this stranger might say right now”. He will also have the feeling it’s so much info in your voice mail – and his competitor is mentioned – that he definitely will keep an eye on his inbox.
Easiest is to simply write down on paper what you’re intending to say, so you’re not having a black-out when it comes to “…please leave a message after the beep”.
So, after you’ve prepared the e-mail and the voice mail, it’s time for action. Pick up your phone and call the CEO, have your prepared voice mail text available. In 99% of the cases, the CEO will not answer, but if he against all odds does, don’t be afraid: You’re well prepared to say your message.
When the voice mail is recorded, don’t wait to send your prepared e-mail to the CEO.
But then you have to wait. My experience says about 2-3 weeks before any response. This is opposite to all other sales techniques that require pretty immediately contact. But I’m sure you have to wait much longer. Why?
Because this will happen: The CEO scans his unread e-mails, typically at least once a day. He reads the subject line only and most of the e-mails he just leave as unread or moves to trash. But when he comes to your e-mail it’s different. He stops because he read his competitor’s name in the subject line, which causes him to open the e-mail of two reasons; he is – as everybody else – curious and he is afraid to miss anything about his marketplace that would cause him to be left behind in the business race. He feels it’s worth the price to read your e-mail.
Since the e-mail is not written for him – it was written for the business user – he may think the e-mail is too complex to understand or he will understand, but sees instant action is required. Both cases are good for you.
So. The CEO hasn’t got time to act himself, but he thinks it has to take action upon. The e-mail is therefore forwarded to the business user, sometimes with c/c to several more people in the CEO’s management team. Count on that you will be contacted within some weeks by the business user or somebody else in this group.
Congrats! Your topic is brought to awareness in the entire management team, the further contacts with your prospect is supported from the highest level and your name is presented to all of the people you need to talk getting your deal closer.
And now. Your real sales work can be started.