Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thinking Outside the Box

In the sales world a lot depends on how we make the initial approach to captivate our soon-to-be new client. Questions emerge such as: What angle do I take? How can I build credibility? How do I “WOW” them with my expertise and get my foot in the door to be heard? All of these questions and more can be answered with four words: Think outside the box.

Why you? Why does this person HAVE to listen to you?

Such questions clearly make me wonder why I am making the call in the first place. Am I prepared? Have I thought this phone call through yet? Will I gradually descend into the sales abyss known as the “Car Salesman Approach” becoming like everyone else out there? NO! I am different! For this reason I wish to share an experience that happened with me earlier this week.

I was in the process of preparing an e-mail for that soon-to-be new client of mine; my colleague had prepared something similar a few weeks past and mentioned it was a “power house” e-mail. I had him forward me his copy that had granted him the key to success earlier that day, in hopes of obtaining the same results. Meticulously I typed the minutes away, polishing and developing a draft sure to be “The one e-mail to rule them all.” I quickly scanned over it for the last precious moments of its electronic life and with a quickness clicked the “SEND” button. Emotions and hopes were high!

For anyone in sales, CREDIBILITY IS KEY. My approach in the past has been to use a client of mine in their same industry that I have achieved great success with and they would know or have heard of. By doing so creates an initial overlay of credibility until you can WOW him/her with what you have to offer. This is your time to shine and prove to him/her taking your call was the best decision he/she ever made.

With my experience preparing this e-mail and compiling my credentials, I had provided credibility to my audience and would now wait to see how my approach was received.

This comes in many forms: Getting past the gatekeeper, leaving interesting voicemails, or even sending e-mails that get their attention and entice them to reach out.

And now, the rest of my story:

DING rang the annoying Outlook sound not 30 seconds after hitting that once glorious button. It was HIM! He replied with a simple “I wasn’t aware of any phone call next week.”The line included in the e-mail was “I want to prepare you for our call we have scheduled for next week.” Heart sunk, a headache began throbbing.. I had failed to edit a small portion of the e-mail! Quickly I devised a rebuttal. “You are correct!” I forced my quaking hands to type. “I wanted to make sure my e-mails were getting read by the right people. When can we set up a time to discuss your company and our world-class training program?” Response sent, I started to calm down for a moment. Dignity restored I could breathe once again, and quickly capitalized that moment to set a firm date for the phone call.

The moral of the story is this: Even though you think you totally screwed up, relax because it got his attention. This is my thinking outside the box moment; though consciously I had no clue it would pan out this way. Keep trying new things to get their attention, with confidence it will work.

Kelly Wasden
ContactPoint NGA WDDA

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