Finding good leads is never easy. Or cheap.
Pretty damn infuriating when you know you have a great product or service – maybe even both.
Actually, not just infuriating: it’s the difference between wallowing in misery and making squillions.
Leads are your life-blood.
The most important element, of course, is one often ignored – yet blindingly obvious.
Nobody bothered to make sure you were talking to the right people.
This is business lunacy.
Even a brilliant message will flop if it goes to the wrong person. But even a pretty dull one can work to the right person.
And if you’ve tried you know – though some poor souls don’t – that most rented business lists are criminally inaccurate.
(Yet even I get caught out in the blind hope that the list vendor is – for once – being honest. Three weeks ago I p***ed away some time testing a list that someone swore was the real deal – but wasn’t.)
So, be honest with yourself: how long do you spend making sure whatever you sent grabs your prospect by the scruff of the neck?
Please, please don’t tell me you just copied and pasted what someone else sends out.
If so, you only have yourself to blame when your “relationship” with that ‘great prospect’ only gets far as their voicemail.
So how do you get your prospects reaching for the phone and dialling your number? Five simple questions will put you on the right track. They are:
Are your letters getting past the PA?
Are they getting read?
Are your e-mails getting read?
Are they taking your calls?
And the fifth, which means you’re bang on target:
Are they calling you?
Let’s start with the first question. How do you get your letters past the PA (this also applies to emails)? It’s actually quite easy.
Most messages fail for a simple reason. They talk about you or your firm or your product, not your prospect. You may find your firm or yourself or even what you sell deeply interesting. Sorry. Nobody else gives a damn.
They want to know what you or what you sell can do for them. And why it does it better than alternatives (after all, they can always choose your competitor).
As far as the PA is concerned, if your letter or e-mail helps solve one of their boss’s problems – it suddenly has value. It will make it to the boss’s desk, or stay in their inbox. They know what his or her concerns are.
So say something helpful. Immediately – right at the start. Before they can turn off.
Do this by writing to catch the attention of somebody – not everybody. You can’t sell to everyone. Pick out the ones in pain by touching a raw nerve.
Then say something intelligent about the problem at the start. Often a heading will do it. And try to offer or imply a solution. Use the next few sentences to expand on it. Make it sound as simple, easy and quick as you can – but don’t lie!
Does that sound too straightforward? I thought you’d say that – so here’s an example. (And incidentally, one example in your sales message is worth a mountain of finely polished bullshit).
This is a real example. There really was a poor soul out there trying to prise open doors with what you’re about to read. And I get the same sort of rubbish via email every day.
Dear Mr XXXX,
Firstly, let me introduce myself, I am the Business Development Manager assigned to the Manufacturing sector in the UK for XXXXXX Ltd.
XXXXXX Ltd is a $2 billion global technology company specialising in solutions that optimize the performance of our customer’s IT infrastructures. Our solutions allow customer’s to build competitive advantage through technology.
We provide a combination of real business consultancy expertise with the strong practical know-how to implement technology that works. Our customers become more competitive through…
Did you read all of it? Mind numbing isn’t it? Have you any clue what the hell the man is selling? And – very common – he doesn’t know when to use an apostrophe.
Semi-literate and 100% clueless.
Start with a problem. Touch the raw nerve. They don’t care who you are, what firm you are from or how much money you turn over. By all means, cover those points later. But not now. You are split-seconds away from the bin, whether it’s the one on the screen or the one in the office.
You’ll also notice, every word they have said could be said by any IT consultancy.
To find a raw nerve we looked at some of their case studies. IT consultancy on its own is not sensitive enough. You need to find a painful spot.
Then you are talking to someone – not everyone.
Here’s what we wrote.
Dear Mr XXXX,
Here’s how a new approach to bandwidth management has already saved one multi-national company 38% on its bandwidth cost – that’s $2.8 million – in its first year.
This new approach is proven too. It’s being taken up by BP, Powergen, RAC, Dewhirst and Symbian. Why? Other efficiencies are instantly being realised through incorporating new technology – unavailable through SPs – to consolidate your bandwidth management…
Which message do you think has the better chance of being seen as valuable by your prospect – or their PA?
When you try and sell anything, to anyone, you always hit natural barriers. Nobody wakes up thinking “how can I invest more money?” Today most are thinking “how can I get more for less”.
But try and help someone, and you briefly win some attention.
Now, since you’re still reading I guess I’ve been helpful enough to win your attention. So why stop here?
If you’d like us to write you a sales letter or email a PA will pass to her boss – or help with any part of your marketing:
Finding out if we can help costs nothing. And you’re certainly not committing to a thing.