Every new business pro will reach out to people who don’t know them. Those unsuspecting prospects often wonder why is this person is reaching out to me? When you make a cold contact, it is inevitable that the question will come up. Or more likely you will bring it up as a part of your pitch. In either case, make sure your answer is about them and not you.
Many Biz Dev pros use the classic Mr. Rogers, “I’m going to be in your neighborhood and would like to show you our capabilities.” What that means is since you have planned your schedule they should oblige you with a meeting. Your travel should be reason enough for them to give up their time. And why not? You’ve gone out of your way to be in their vicinity so of course, regardless of their schedule or need, a meeting is deserved. Reverse the roles. Would you agree? Or would you think how presumptuous and discourteous? You will likely hear the sorry, but … I’m not in town, not available, getting a root channel, or not looking for new resources.
Some use the scholarly Einstein, “We’ve been researching your industry and want in.” Why would someone care that your firm has been researching an industry to gain more clients? That sounds like a business development strategy that relegates the prospect into a heap of nameless business wins to satisfy your agency’s sales goals. Gee, I’m honored that you see my company and me worthy of your salesmanship. Sorry but no.
And then there is the arrogant Napoleon, “We’re expanding into your market. Let’s meet so you can be one of the lucky ones.” I’m pretty sure no one ever said yes, I want to help you gain traction in my town and will gladly give you my time, sit through your pitch and hand you my business so you can make your quota. Unless you have an exclusive offering or a rare service, it’s more likely you’ll hear no thanks and never hear from them again. No!
Perhaps you favor the Biff, “Hello? … McFly? … Anyone home? Let me in so I can show you how great I am.”
Every one of these examples is all about you. I’m in town. I’m really smart. I’m really great. You must see me! And they all are a result of the same problem – not doing your homework. If you spend a little time researching the prospect, their market, and consumer, business goals, challenges, you can easily turn your focus on them. From the first moment when they ask why me (if they ever do) be sure your answer is about them and not you.
Make sure you answer the Why Me with these basic concepts in whatever form is true to you.
- Why are you credible - we have experience in your industry with brand X, Y, and Z.
- What business problem do you solve - we have client results with your same challenges, +5% X, +15% Y, and +25% Z.
- How can you help achieve my goals – we’ve developed fresh ideas to solve your business problems.
- What’s in it for me - we want to give you some ideas that might help.
- Do you respect me - we want to accommodate your busy schedule.
There are any number of variations on this theme, and yours should be authentic and genuine to who you are what you represent. Above all, don’t cut and paste. The kind of marketer that you want to work with will sniff out robo-speak in no time. Us your words but think about it this way when you call or email.
We’ve worked with companies in your industry like X, Y, and Z to help grow share, win new customers, and increase revenue and they have achieved X%, Y$, and Z ROI.
I’ve researched your brand, and the challenges you face and my agency has some ideas on how you can make real progress quickly. You have undoubtedly read about what brand X has done, brand Y is doing, and why brand Z is losing.
I know your time is valuable and thought you might find some of our ideas helpful. I would enjoy sharing what I’ve learned over a cup of coffee or lunch to make the best use of your time. I’m going to be doing some business in your town and can be available whenever your schedule allows.
It’s hard if you are just fishing for ideas or grasping at anything that might resonate with a new prospect. We do great work, we win lots of awards, we’re full-service, or fun to work with doesn’t represent real value or distinguish you from the many other agencies trying to cold-call their way in. Yes, occasionally you might get lucky with this approach but not consistently, and if you do, it will more likely result in a bad relationship more times than not.
On the other hand, it is much easier, more rewarding and a more enjoyable conversation when you have real knowledge, real experience and real ideas that solve legitimate business problems. You are going to create a positive impression by the way you talk when you finally get that prospect’s attention. The prospect is going to respond in ways that help you assess their true needs and level of interest. It amazes me how many new business pros prefer to keep playing Mr. Rogers, Einstein, Napoleon, and especially Biff.
If you want help, email me or spend some time on my website www.jheenan.com to get more tips on ad agency growth. If you liked this post and want more new business ideas delivered to your inbox sign up for my free monthly newsletter. #LetsGrow!