Earning the Conversation

One of the skills of a very good salesperson is someone who recognizes in a meeting or a phone call when a prospect is opening up and sharing good information.  Decision makers in busy organizations who are being approached by numerous salespeople do not have the time to talk with everyone who calls. If they are getting a lot of calls they eventually we become very selective about who they speak with and what they reveal. This is a common characteristic of buyers in busy companies in competitive industries.

When I or one of my salespeople is having a hard time getting a hold of someone I will ask them, how are you earning the conversation? How are you distinguishing yourself to the buyer? Are you using all methods of communication; phone, emails, and regular mail? Are you calling at different times? Do you leave pleasant and upbeat messages? Are you embracing the challenge of getting a hold of someone?

In one of our projects recently we sent out 30 toy trucks to buyers that we had been chasing for months and in some cases for years. Our client is a last mile delivery trucking company and we have been calling on some of the biggest retailers in the country. The logistics folks for these companies can be extremely difficult to reach and are involved in deciding on millions of dollars of business. Even when we did happen to reach them they were quick to blow us off.

The trucks were white and about six inches long and about two inches in height and looked like a typical delivery truck; a nice little toy for a logistics professional to stick on their shelf or bring home to their child. We slapped the name of our client on both side panels of the truck, and we included a letter which stated, “We will load out your Last-Mile, White-Glove delivery problems.”  We also included a handwritten note that was tailored to each person.  Pretty clever? Don’t mean to brag but we thought we were being pretty creative.

The first week after we sent these trucks out, we got our first meeting with someone we had been chasing for over a year. The next week we arranged two more meetings with very high value prospects. Each time the buyer mentioned the trucks. One actually
called us. The following week we got another meeting.

This worked because these buyers knew we were after them.  They knew who we were and what we were selling.  We had been very consistent being persistent. The trucks broke through the busyness of these buyer’s day.

They gave us the meetings because we earned them.  Professional selling at its best.

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