Establishing Contact: Message and Goal
Do not bother to contact your prospect in case you have no clear objective. This may seem obvious, but often overlooked in sales departments. Managers of sales people have introduced the term "Accountability”. They try to motivate their sales force to establish a number of new contacts every week. I challenge the efficiency of the parameter. It is a shortsighted metric, which is easy to realize without taking the quality behind the numbers into account. Without a clear goal during establishing contact, the action is worthless and should not be rewarded.
Short term goal
Your sales template will provide you with the typical process from first contact to the contract award and beyond. The next step after “establish contact” should be added to the objective during the “establishing contact” phase. In case your sales template shows a meeting to be the best next step, your goal during establishing contact is the meeting. The “establishing contact” phase is completed after the meeting is set.
Your Message is not what counts
The main frustration of prospects are sales people that rattle about what they can offer, without taking a breath to listen to what the client has to say. Therefore make sure you have a clear message, which you can communicate within some seconds. The prospect will try to map you or your company into his brain. Give him some time (couple of seconds) to evaluate if he regards the time on the phone useful to improve his situation. In case your prospect cannot decide straight away he starts asking questions. These questions will contain clues on “his world”. Listen very carefully and do not be afraid to ask counter questions.
Listen to build trust
Don’t be scared to ask questions. As a sales person you do not know the prospect that you are contacting. It is very important to get a clear vision on the “world” of your potential client. By taking time to understand the “world” of your prospect, you built trust. In the end you want to improve his situation, therefore you will need to understand his world. Use the “establishing contact” phase to get this understanding. Do not rush through this phase and do not fill in the blancs for your prospect.