October 10, 2006
News & Opinion: Where’s the Money?
Im always amazed at how much money were leaving on the table. Were not asking our clients, our friends, our peers to refer us to people they know. We spend so much time on knee-jerk prospecting tacticsand theyre just thattactics. Wheres the strategy? Most salespeople make tons of calls and hope someone will call back. Or, they follow-up diligently on marketing and trade show leads. (Most of which are worthless.) What if we only talked to people we wanted to talk to AND who wanted to talk to us? What a concept! There are really only two parts to the sales process: Part One is getting in front of the right people, and Part Two is everything that happens after that. If we dont get in front of the right people, nothing else really matters, does it?
The way to get in front of the right people is to be crystal clear about the person you want to meet. Most of us begin by saying Anyone who No, it is not anyone, and that is way too broad for people to think of someone to refer to you. What I am suggesting is counter-intuitive. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for a person to think of someone to refer to you. Think of yourself as an artist. The more color and lines you put into your picture, the easier it will be for someone to understand.
Recently, a young man who sold insurance, called me for advice. I asked him who his clients were. He said: Anyone who has assets to protect. I told him that was the universe, and it was way too broad. After several minutes of discussion, he told me he was looking for young couples starting a family and buying their first home, and dry cleaners. (His company underwrote drycleaners.) It was now much easier for me to think of someone to refer.
In my business, I ask to meet vice presidents of sales or people who run sales teams in North America. These are my clients. There is really no reason for me to talk to anyone else. Guess the people I meet?
About Sally Haldorson
Sally Haldorson's job as 800-CEO-READ’s General Manager is to make 800-CEO-READ a great place to work for our employees, and a consistently high-performing customer service organization for our clients, authors, and our partners in the publishing industry. In addition to her General Manager duties ensuring collaboration, integration, and quality, she reads, writes, reviews, curates, and edits for the company. Helping craft The 100 Best Business Books of All Time used parts of both skill sets. Outside of work, she is most likely to be found hitting a tennis ball around or hanging out with her boys (husband, child, dog) at home.