Love to Have the Opportunity to Learn About Your Company: I Know I Can Help
It seems that the preferred CRM Cold Call script goes something like this, ”I’d love to jump on a call with you and learn more about your company. I am sure we can help.” Really?
The roots of this approach may be from the “Sell me this pen” sales model whereby the sales representative queries the prospect seeking to find a need that can then be filled. Understanding your customer and her business needs are a critical selling skill.
However, a cold call (using this sales model) from someone the prospect does not know and may even be unclear about the product/service being offered is usually a non-starter. Yet, increasingly this is the opening gambit in many digital marketing campaigns materials.
What is missing from all of this is the construct of homework. The race car driver, Bobby Unser is credited with saying, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”
Somehow, I don’t think he jumped in the car ‘cold’ the day of the race. Long hours of preparation preceded race day.
B2B selling is all about solving a specific issue or challenge the buyer is facing. Whether the potential customer knows about the issue or is unaware (for example, the first-generation smart phone), he or she must perceive value from the selling firm.
While it is usually impossible to know the details of an issue, the rep must have a starting point. Rather than, “let’s jump on a call” articulate that the rep has some actual knowledge about the prospect.
If the purchasing authority works on average ten hours a day (plus or including commuting time) a 30-min meeting is 5% of his or her day. Is talking to this sales rep the best use of that time?
Frankly, teaching an uninformed individual about the company and fielding a battery of probing questions probably is not worth it to most of us. A more valuable approach would be to develop a ‘strawman’ value proposition.
The usual benchmark of value is financial. An increase in the top/bottom lines, stock price or more recently reputation (great place to work, etc.) drive operational excellence initiatives. Whether tangible or intangible organizations seek value from business cases put forth by suppliers.
Unfortunately, value often remains loosely defined; as shown in the text box. Moreover, it is often difficult and time consuming to develop a viable and valid value proposition. No matter, this homework must be done!
|At a recent conference about the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), two panels extoled the (technology) virtue available to heavy industry. An inquiry from the audience regarding the project risk of implementing enterprise level IIoT was not impressively answered. Likewise, when questioned about the value proposition one panelist timidly answered that IIoT was simply necessary to remain competitive.|
Trust me, it’s going to be good! Not the most compelling use case.
Early in my sales career, this rep often put forth value propositions along the line of the IIoT example. Often, the company provided me with presentation materials to that end.
My sales life forever changed at a Mexican restaurant one lunch when I was going through the usual pitch and was interrupted by the prospect. His question to me paraphrased, “If I buy from you will I be promoted?”
I thought I knew this individual reasonably well and was speechless at the question. Later I realized that instead of a laundry list of products, spares and other materials, he was looking for a solution.
His problem would have been apparent if I had done my homework. He was charged with installing all the instrumentation in a $ 1 billion refinery retrofit. When successful, he believed his career would advance
Grilling him about his business would have made me persona non-grata as he did not have time for that. Once I proactively engaged his organization it quickly became clear how to win the deal. Three million dollars later our manufacturing facility was in over drive. And he did get promoted!
Finally, there is a level of impersonality from this selling model. This includes the much ‘loved’ follow up email driven by CRM, “I haven’t heard from you so I thought I would resend my email.”
Certainly, persistence is required to close deals; however, pestering will drive prospects away as fast as they can run. Professional behavior coupled with persistence are two sales KPIs.
You want me to give you some of my valuable time? Then do your homework and show me why I should
The author and others have published extensively on this subject. The list of appropriate articles and papers is too extensive to list here. However, readers are invited to peruse Dr. Shemwell’s extensive list of blogs and publications.
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Critical Mass: Value from the RBC Framework
Nuclear physicists define the term, “critical mass” as the amount of fissile material whereby a nuclear reaction is self-sustaining. From that original definition, the construct is further developed along societal and political terms as a function of the environment and number of adopters and their interdependencies that create enough of a consensus for individual actions that sustains an undertaking.
In 1996, the author published the first of several case studies on a societal interaction model based on the Relationships, Behavior and Conditions (RBC) construct among economic actors. Previously the model was only in the domain of academia.
This blog addresses contemporary issues from the RBC perspective and whether in the present state they are sustainable or not. Many readers may be familiar with the “Innovation Adoption Curve.” RBC seeks to enlighten the causality of behaviors that cause movement towards the critical mass that generates movement along this diffusion curve.
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Other Blogs Dr. Shemwell Authors
Dr. Shemwell is an author for the following 3rd party blogs.
Governing Energy Blog
BTOES Insights is the content portal for Business Transformation & Operational Excellence opinions, reports & news. Dr. Shemwell is a contributor.
Consult 2050 connects organizations with a wide range of consultants all around the world. The firm operates an online marketplace for consultancy services.
About the Author
Dr. Scott M. Shemwell has over 30 years technical and executive management experience primarily in the energy sector. He is the author of six books and has written extensively about the field of operations. Shemwell is the Managing Director of The Rapid Response Institute, a firm that focuses on providing its customers with solutions enabling Operational Excellence and regulatory compliance management. He has studied cultural interactions for more than 30 years—his dissertation; Cross Cultural Negotiations Between Japanese and American Businessmen: A Systems Analysis (Exploratory Study) is an early peer reviewed manuscript addressing the systemic structure of societal relationships.