single biggest challenge?”
I wish I had a dollar for every time I
was asked that question because I’d be able to retire immediately. It’s right up there with:
you up at night?”
And let’s not forget:
Why do executives cringe every time
they’re asked those questions? Because
just about every solution-based qualification call on the sales training planet
includes one of those questions, and that means they can see your sales
prospecting pitch coming from a mile away.
You’ve just shown them all they need to know. You aren’t really interested in earning your
place as one of their consultative trust-based partners. That type of relationship nurturing would
take way too much time and patience. You
merely want to quickly qualify them as either in or out of your sales funnel
for your month end report.
Hey, that’s fair enough, they understand
that time is a valuable and non-renewable resource. They don’t want to waste your time, but nor
do they want you to waste theirs. Look,
I’m not saying executives will never answer that golden question. It’s just that your timing is terrible
because you’re asking too much, too fast.
Think about it; do you really think an executive is going to open up to
a total stranger and disclose their biggest challenge? I don’t care if you do work for one of the
Fortune 500; they don’t KNOW you PERSONALLY, and that means they’re not ready
to TRUST you with their greatest struggles.
That would give you too much power and let’s face it; executives like to
stay in control.
To be able to get an answer to that
question you need to take your executive prospecting strategy out of microwave mode
and learn how to build personal trust over time. Smart sales and marketing people pursue this
goal of becoming the “most trusted” source, expert, or problem solver in their
industries and here is how they do it:
1. Trust takes time.
Trust may sometimes be forged in moments of great drama, but it is more likely
to be formed by many small, moment-to-moment, encounters. If possible, connect with your targeted
executive across more than one social platform in order to increase your
trust-building exposure. If your target
is on Twitter focus there first. Twitter
is designed for quick moment-to-moment encounters and is less formal than
2. Is your social
media content consistent or erratic? If
your posts are confusing, indecisive, or inconsistent, your targeted audience
is going to have a hard time taking you seriously. Remember, when it comes to social media, you
are always on and first impressions count.
key to getting trust is giving it first.
Recruit your prospects to be a part of your inner circle. Get serious about leveraging authenticity and
transparency to help your contacts build confidence in you as a thought-leader.