Some of my closer colleagues emailed me with comments to my previous post, “Are You Too Promiscuous?” (Come on, folks, help me out. Why not comment directly on my blog itself? Actually, I know the answer, it’s quicker and more efficient to send an email. That’s cool, too. Thanks!)
The ensuing “Promiscuity Debate” centered around the big question: to research, or not to research, before establishing contact with a new prospect?
One friend who works in commodities trading pointed out that his sales are transactional in nature. “You call. You tell them the price is on the move. You point out the benefits of…
… moving fast. Tomorrow the inherent benefits of the product don’t change, but the price might. So buying today is the perceived benefit.”
Fair enough. I don’t know commodities. But I countered, “Is this with established customers, or on first-time approaches? If the latter, is there not a benefit in knowing some things about the prospect before launching in to a pitch? What if their copper inventories are already through the roof and the entire industry knows it; might you have lost a little credibility?”
Another comment from two friends in the sports marketing industry were in sync. “Why spend too much time researching? If you get an appointment, then start researching. And part of your research can continue once you meet with the prospect, because the client him/herself is the best source.”
I actually love that concept and I fully agree: your research should not stop the day you meet the client for the first time. In fact, it should be ongoing. The best source for your research is indeed the client/prospect. Love it!
And I also agree, there is merit to efficiency, let’s call it, being shallow… and casting the net widely; then going deep once you know you’re in a school of “qualified fish.”
However, I continually put myself in the shoes of the buyer. If someone calls me and doesn’t know anything about me, I feel I’m being pitched to. And you, the salesperson, immediately come off as a… salesperson, and not a resourceful business person. All things constant, I choose to engage with someone I sense is a resource, someone who is an immediate value-add… not once I make the purchase decision, but now. You’ll create a lot of goodwill with me. That doesn’t guarantee you the sale, but it does increase your probabilities. And I might even give you a referral. As a salesperson, isn’t their value in that?
Perhaps all buyers are not like me. But I feel more comfortable selling in a style to which I’m more comfortable buying. Isn’t that being customer/buyer-focused?
Come on, friends. Let’s have another go!