You Only Get The Meetings You Ask For

By Conrad Smith, Vice President, Consulting Services

August 8, 2016

MeetingsYouAskFor

Wait, what?

Notch another one for the old ‘stating the obvious’ tally. But, if the title to this piece is so obvious, why is it that so many sales professionals need to be continually reminded to get out there and prospect?

Some sales professionals may believe the idea of prospecting is dead, due to the Internet and other marketing modalities. It’s called ‘buying’ when you wait for customers to do the initiating. Selling requires you to take the initiative and get the conversation started. That starts with asking for a meeting.

So, here’s a couple quick reminders of how to get a meeting started:

  • Crafting a great message — Arguably the hardest work you need to do is the research necessary to craft a meaningful message, targeted to the individual who cares and knows about the conversation you want to have. It takes a bit of time. However, the time invested allows you to tailor your message to be on target in a way that increases your chance of getting the cherished meeting you desire. You’ve got to research your customer’s business to craft a message that’s all about the buyer with whom you are trying to get a meeting.
  • Sending the message — It may sound obvious, but research and writing alone doesn’t build pipeline. You have to send the message and follow up with the frequency required – not the frequency you desire. Take a personal inventory and ask yourself, “What keeps you from sending more messages?” If time is your answer, then you must make the time to craft, send and follow-up more messages because that is a fundamental part of selling.. If that’s not it, take a good strong look at your confidence level. Everyone has a fear of rejection, so if that’s the reason you are not sending more messages, get coaching, work with a peer, practice and build up your messaging muscles.
  • Using multiple follow-up strategies — There’s a good chance your message may not get the answer you desire on the first try. If your company doesn’t already have one, develop your own personal process for varied, repeated touches with your prospect. Think like a chess master — you’d never win at chess by only moving one player the same way in every game. If your first email doesn’t work, change the message and the modality. But above all, don’t give up. Remember, you are the person selling. Average chess players plan at least three moves at a time; advanced players plan the entire game. Your messaging strategy should be somewhere between six to eight touch points. Your chess game would use every piece on the board, so make sure your plan includes every messaging modality, different message content, and even your senior managers or subject matter experts if needed.

Key messaging considerations:

  • Keep it short and crisp — The majority of emails are read on smartphones and forcing people to scroll doesn’t help your cause.
  • Make the subject line stand out — It alone often determines whether your message is read or deleted. Make it all about your customer’s needs. If your customer wanted to know about your products and services, they’d be looking at your website.
  • Don’t assign work to your buyer — If they wanted to call you they would have – you are the one selling so take the initiative to reach out and schedule a meeting. Don’t ask them to call you back. You have a right to ask for a meeting – you need to confidently own that you and your company create some really great results.
  • Can you hear me now? — When you are calling, be ready to talk to a real live human being – and if you get voicemail – be ready to leave an ultra-crisp, succinct message.
  • Level up your message — Remember, you get delegated to whom you sound like, so keep your message at your buyer’s level.

Above all, remember this. Learn to accept rejection and lean into the ‘no’ responses. Use each ‘no’ as a means to get better. How can you improve on your message?

Get out there and get some meetings. Good luck and good selling.