On The ANB, we’re consistently trying to show you ways to improve your new business program and it’s typically in the form of what we recommend you should do. In this case, it’s all about what you shouldn’t do.
Several of us went to a sales symposium recently to help inspire us and get some fresh ideas on prospecting and breaking through. What ensued over that three hour time frame was a mostly horrific exercise in case after text book case of old school, high pressure, in several cases downright deceitful selling techniques.
Below are but a few examples of what we heard that fateful day. A true bonding experience for most of us there, as we listened in growing fascination and disgust to the ways in which we were told how to increase our sales.
Ideally these give you a good laugh (or not) but if you or your new business director are coming anywhere close to these examples, please, please re-think your approach.
(I’m paraphrasing in these, and will be speaking in the voice of the instructor in italics with my own thoughts after each):
The Gatekeeper is not your friend; they’re there to make sure you don’t get through. You can’t let the happen. When you call and they ask your name, give them your name and only your name, no matter what they ask you, every time. So if your name is Tom Mclean, that’s all you tell them.
Q: What company are you with?
A: Tom Mclean.
Q: The reason for your call?
A: Tom McLean.
Q: Is he expecting your call?
A: Tom Mclean.
Seriously? I don’t really even get this. I guess the Gatekeeper is just supposed to give up and put you through? Never happen.
Back to the Gatekeeper, if he/she tells you the President is in a meeting, you can’t let that happen. You tell the Gatekeeper what to do, you’re in charge. Don’t be afraid to do that, they respect authority. Tell them to take down your information and interrupt the meeting, what you have to say to the President is important and he’ll be glad you did.
I’m not making up one bit of the above. Can you imagine actually pulling this? Besides being immensely insulting to the person who answered the phone, the above is a guarantee you’ll never talk to that President.
I love voicemail, you know why, more and more these days, CMO’s are leaving their cell phone on their voice mail messages. That’s gold! Now you’ve got the guaranteed “in.” Use that to your advantage and often; keep calling until you get through, don’t worry about interrupting them.
? ! . . . Great way to get sucker punched if you ever meet them in person.
In the words of Forrest, That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
Agency new business is about respect, research, relationship building and polite persistence, amongst other things.
I have more examples and maybe I’ll share them in another post, but just reliving that seminar is making me alternately queasy and a little upset.
As Director of Business Development at RSW/US, Lee brings new agency clients on board and handles marketing and social media for RSW/US. You can find him on Google+ (https://plus.google.com/+LeeMcKnightJr/) or Twitter (@leemcknightjr).