The Pipeline Guest Post – Jeff Ogden
We used to go far and wide looking for customers.
Cold calls, email blasts, webinars, etc. – all designed to attract interested buyers. We were looking for the proverbial nugget of gold – a prospect with pain and a budget.
But in this age of empowered buyers, where an executive can do his own research ad hoc – that strategy is growing less and less effective. Prospects avoid salespeople and do their own research.
I recommend you consider a new approach. Choose your customers.
In addition to the marketing strategies outlined above, list out the 10-12 ideal customers your company would like to win. Then devise a strategy to crack those accounts. I’ll share some ideas on how to do it.
Let’s say you want a dominant market share in financial services by winning showcase customers.
One of the biggest names in financial services is American Express. Having American Express as a client would impress everyone. But there is one problem – American Express has never heard of your company. So what do you do?
We know picking up the phone and making a cold call is very unlikely to yield good results. So what works to engage us in American Express?
I believe it is the combination of Trust and Timing that yields results today.
Let’s examine each of those>
Trust is built slowly, patiently and deliberately. I believe in the adage “Give to get.” This means you need to invest time and effort into HELPING American Express executives. How can you help them?
1. Thoughtful blog comments
2. Retweets of their tweets
3. Personal, handwritten note sharing something of interest.
4. Attend one of their events
5. Get involved in the execs outside interest.
Case in point, the CEO of American Express presented his company at
American Express Company at Goldman Sachs US Financial Services Conference December 07, 2010 10:30 a.m. ET
The presentation and content from the CEO’s presentation are posted on the American Express website. The CEO shares the business results, strategy and more. What do you think he wants to talk about? Your products? Or how American Express can compete more effectively against Visa and Mastercard?
Here’s is one very simple thing you can do? Listen to Ken Chenault’s presentation. Get some executive stationary. Hand-write a note to Ken, and comment on something you learned from his presentation. Sell nothing. I guarantee it will resonate with him.
You can also attend these events. Every year American Express does an investors day. Admission is free. And all their top executives are there. I am shocked at how many salespeople fail to take advantage of these events.
Timing is essential. You need to contact American Express at the time they are most receptive to your message. This means some type of trigger event. Maybe they hire or promote an executive. Or they announce earnings. Or they buy a company.
Regardless, you need to wait for the optimal moment to contact them.
If you have patiently earned their trust and contact them at the optimal moment, you have a great chance of winning a showcase client. You really can pick your customers.
About Jeff Ogden
Jeff Ogden is President of Find New Customers “Lead Generation Made Simple” Find New Customers helps companies like yours (with 50 to 5,000 employees and complex products) implement lead generation programs to improve the way you find and acquire high quality sales leads using best practices in online lead generation.