I asked 27 sales people from different verticals - during a sales cycle, on the first sales call, what are you trying to achieve? 21 of them (!!!!) said in one form or another that they are trying to get the sale. Not close the sale as this is very unlikely on the first call but in their mind yes, get the signed check. Only when I asked specifically a second and third time I got them to pause. Still, their reactions and thoughts were around closing the deal.
This past couple of weeks we’ve been busy in launching a new email campaign. Cold calling via email and stumbled upon the first sentence of the email. Not the subject line, which is an entire separate post in itself, but rather the opening line of that intro email. We took a minute to think, just like with my question to the sales reps, what is the purpose of that opening line. Looked around the room and got responses such as: to get their attention, to draw interest, and one even said to make them laugh (my best student of Emotional Relevance classes...😊).
All correct and relevant responses. But I wanted to get even more specific. Say we get their attention, we get the reader to laugh a bit, what is it that we want them to do? What would be the next action they take that will make this first line a successful line.
Going back to the group of 27 sales reps. We examined their past data, length of sales cycle, how many interactions (and types of interactions) did it take them to close a deal. At no surprise we found out that no one of them ever closed a deal on the first sales call. Moreover, they realized during the conversation that they have been really focusing on closing the deal VS. the task at hand which caused them to simply lengthen the sales cycle and in some instances, fight and scramble to get back to the table. So I asked again - what is your desired outcome from this first sales call? And then one of them, after scratching her head for a minute, and you could tell she’s got it, said - confirm the next call!
While the ultimate goal is to close the deal of course, every sales cycle is broken down to many touch-points, many mini sales cycles. If we don’t focus on the smaller objectives along the way, we will simply have to go back and start over.
Back with my team. Contemplating the objective, the outcome of the successful opening line in that email campaign.
"Every relationship begins with that first step. Some people never get past that first step."
That’s right. Very simple. All we want our prospects to do after reading the first line is.....to read the second line.
So at that moment, at that step of the way, forget about everything else and come up with ways to get them to read that second line. Get them emotional. Be relevant. Different perhaps. But zoom in on that. Just like with the sales call. Focus on the next step. If it’s a face to face then do whatever you need to do to achieve that. Do not let the ultimate goal derail you from the necessary process.