I am going to try something new after scanning my Linkedin updates this morning. Not even sure I’m allowed to do this. But top salespeople ask for forgiveness, not permission – right? I found a great discussion that was started by Michael Pedone. I have never corresponded with Michael before. Here’s a link to the discussion. Sending it along because it covers a topic that is relevant to my clients and something we talk about often.
Here’s the question Michael asks to start the discussion:
What is the Objective of a First Time Sales Call?
Scenario: You have the name, number and email address of the CEO of a small business that you’ve identified as a strong candidate for what you have to offer. You’ve never spoken with this person before… they don’t even know you exist. You are about to make your first time call to them.
What is your primary objective of the call?
Explain Your Services
Close a Deal
The first reply was from Nicole in Vancouver: “To secure a meeting” was her very succinct answer.
By the time I got to the discussion there were about 10 replies and then I chimed in with my thoughts. And because I am so passionate about the topic, felt the need to respond again a few posts later.
Here are the two comments I made. As always, curious for thoughts. I tend be extreme about this topic (surprise, surprise) because so many salespeople and sales teams have swung the pendulum too far the other direction.
Comment 1: Mike Weinberg • This is a great discussion. Glad I found Michael’s update this morning. I love the dialogue. Gotta say, Nicole had me at “hello.” I am huge fan of getting the meeting. Why? Because I see very few (like zero) salespeople having too many appointments with prospective clients. When someone can show me evidence that their sales team is having too many wasted appointments with unqualified prospects, AND they’re not able to get to all their hot qualified leads because they’re “wasting time” meeting with all those unqualified prospects, THEN, and only then, will I become a fan of better screening before taking a meeting.
Having said all that, I think Michael’s comment just above is brilliant and practical. I completely agree that we can go into sales situations with an idea of what the prospect’s likely needs/issues/pains/desired results are. And we can share our “story” leading with those issues to engage the prospect and communicate that we get it, that it’s not about what we do, but what we can do for them. So, while we want to position ourselves as consultative problem-solvers, it is ok to tell the prospect how we help others and how we think we can help them.
Thanks for getting me charged up today with this discussion.
Comment 2: Mike Weinberg • I can’t agree with Marc’s take on this. If your job is sales and as Michael said in setting up the scenario, this CEO was already on your strategically selected list of prospects, then you want to meet with the prospect. Period. You picked this prospect for a reason. Good things happen when talented salespeople get in front of strategically chosen prospects. Even if they’re not a fit to buy today, good things come out of well-conducted initial meetings. As I shared before, show me a salesperson who is having too many meetings with strategic prospects who look and smell like our best customers and then I’ll consider changing my theory. I am coaching and consulting every day. I haven’t seen one company that isn’t making their new business sales goals because their people are wasting time with too many meetings. But I see an untold number of companies and salespeople failing to develop new business because of lack of meaningful activity.
I’ll rest now. Think I may have taken this discussion down a path for which it wasn’t intended. But I feel so strongly about this, I had to chime in.
Would love your take on this. What do you think?
Related post from the early days of this blog: Stop Over-Qualifying