There are some major differences between prospecting for managed services opportunities when you’re a sales executive versus prospecting when you’re the owner or leader of the business.
Let’s face it; a sales rep is always going to be at a power imbalance when they’re pitching the C-Suite. Most sales executives, although trusted advisors and professionals, are still employees. They aren’t facing the same day-to-day struggles and challenges that a business owner is.
This is your first advantage selling business owner to business owner. You aren’t discussing theoretical concepts when you’re prospecting. You’re comparing notes. You’re commiserating. You know what other business owners are experiencing. You’re either going through it yourself or you’ve already come out the other end of it butter side up, and you’re ready to share your experience with others. And, most importantly, you’re ready to learn from them and collaborate with them.
How to get started
- Begin by talking to the other business owners you interact with daily. Ask them for their business, if it makes sense to.
- Then, ask those business owners for referrals, and call those referrals and ask them for their business.
- Join a BNI group or your local chamber of commerce. Don’t sit back and wait for the phone to ring off the hook. Start making calls — a networking group only works when you network!
- Remember: Givers gain. You can’t just ask for referrals and not offer up any of your own. Whenever you’re talking to a potential client, even if you aren’t a fit, ask “What would make your business better right now?” What are they trying to achieve? What do they need to do, buy, or change in the next year? Who in your new network can help them? Connect people wherever you can.
- Don’t go into conversations looking to make a sale. Go in looking for problems to solve, and don’t be afraid to table some of your own. Most successful peer groups work because people share their challenges as well as their successes.
Taking the next step
You’re building your referral network, and that’s going well. But it’s going slowly. What else should you be doing? As a business owner, your time is limited for business development — after all, you’ve got a business to run. You still need to build and maintain a sales pipeline if you want that business to keep growing, though.
So, now it’s time to do some real “cold” cold calling! Remember, a sales rep does nothing but sell, so they can approach leads differently. You’ve got to maximize the very limited time you’re going to be able to spend on the phone.
Watch the webinar replay and learn how prospecting is different when you’re the business owner or leader. In “Cold Calling 201: Taking prospecting to the next level,” we’ll walk you step by step through some techniques that will increase your success rate when trying to connect with other business leaders to sell managed services.
You’ll leave this webinar ready to pick up the phone – like a boss!
Photo Credit: Mark Fischer via Flickr.com. Used under CC 2.0 license.