Week 3 Challenge: Gain Access and Set up Meetings
[Please note: this article, and the rest of the articles in this series, together constitute the 15 emails in the It Starts with Clients Client Growth Challenge. Please subscribe here to receive them on a weekly basis over the next 100 days]
In Week 3 of this challenge, you’re going to begin a systematic outreach to your clients and prospects. What do I mean by outreach (singular)?
An “outreach” is when you communicate with an executive to learn more about their agenda, build trust in you/your firm’s ability to help them with their most urgent problems and opportunities, and otherwise advance the relationship. It could be a personal, hand-written note with an article; an email; or a phone call/video conference (right now, it’s probably not going to be a face-to-face meeting, although in normal circumstances, this would be your ultimate goal–a personal meeting).
You should be engaging in three to five outreaches a week (or more) if you are a seller-doer–and many more, of course, if you are in full time sales. Remember, a sale usually occurs when an important client need meets a proven solution within the context of a trusted relationship. Especially today, you have to engage in more “up front” conversations with clients about their needs. If it used to take 10 outreaches to generate three follow up conversations and one proposal, in this market you might need to make twenty or thirty outreaches to get to a single proposal.
Business development, at least for the time being, has become a bit like making maple syrup: It takes 40 gallons of sap, drawn from many trees, to create one gallon of sweet, delicious maple syrup. Similarly, you now have to get out and tap into more clients and prospects…
Don’t convince yourself that “no one is buying.” Of course clients are buying–but their purchasing may have slowed, and they may be prioritizing a different set of needs right now. But since the first sale is to yourself, you won’t get any sales at all if you believe your market is completely dead. And even if it is–you can use this time to strengthen your own capabilities and learn more about your clients, so that when the rebound comes you will be stronger and better than you were before.
TIP: Use relationships and ideas to get access, and leverage warm introductions wherever possible
Most executives will meet with someone they know, someone who has been recommended to them, and/or with someone who has a good idea that directly relates to their agenda of critical priorities. So always try to get a warm introduction to a prospective client. This is why referrals are so powerful–they create a certain level of immediate trust and they open the door for an initial conversation.
Second tip: Systematically work your contacts and increase your outreach. So here goes:Systematically work your contacts and increase your outreach. Click To Tweet
Your Week 3 Challenge: Gain Access and Set up Meetings ( right now, by phone/video).
Here’s your Week 3 Assignment: Complete pages 16-18 in the Growth Guide. You’ll be asked to create your A, B, and C lists of high-priority clients and contacts, and accelerate your outreach. You can also click here to download this assignment as a separate PDF: Week 3 Assignment.pdf