Asking how to do this is a bit like asking ‘what is the meaning of life?’. Simple stuff at its core – but it can get complicated along the way…
The central principles are:
Define your key added-value deliverables
Be very clear about what it is you are really selling. I don’t mean just the products or services (as important as they are) – but what they can potentially do for your customer. Think carefully about your deliverables and where they are advantageous versus the competition – i.e. where do you have competitive advantage? (bearing in mind that this could be different depending on who the competitor is).
Identify where you are most likely to succeed with new business opportunities
Make a list of the factors which determine where you should seek out your new business and apply some form of ‘weighting’ to allow you to prioritise. At the top of your list should be a question which allows you to define those most likely to be receptive to your ‘story’.
Understand your prospect’s world so you can identify with them
Do your homework on the organisations you plan to approach. What is going on in their world? What’s topical and ‘hot’? What is likely to be on their business agenda?
Consider where your strongest propositions lie
Do some preliminary thinking about the proposition/s you have in your portfolio (see first principle above) which potentially connects with your understanding of what’s likely to be on their agenda.
Where do you first make contact?
Also as part of your homework, consider who the most appropriate first stage contact is.
- This very often isn’t who the organisation points at the outside world and uses as its ‘filter’
- Further downstream in your dialogue it will be much easier to be delegated downwards than vice versa.
What message is threaded through your initial communication?
Decide how you will approach the organisation with the ‘lead’ proposition threaded into your communication:
- Linkedin communication
- Phone in direct
- Call PA first
- Work with partner
- E-mail/letter in first instance ready for telephone follow-up
- Seek out introduction from a networked contact
- In relation to the last point above, it has been our consistent experience that people in selling in the UK give nowhere near enough thought to how they can get an introduction
- Do you know someone who works there or has worked there?
- Do you know someone in a complementary business?
- Can you find out something about their business/market which allows you to make a connection?
What impact do conversion ratios have on the way you plan sales activity?
Do some conversion rate-based arithmetic which ensures that you plan enough activity to achieve your target.
Matching their needs to your deliverables…
When you are with your prospect, put the emphasis on making the connection between your knowledge of what’s happening in their world, his/her needs (as identified by your questions), and your potential deliverables.
Hey presto – the meaning of life…!!