Paul addresses a challenge that plagues all salespeople: getting a meeting with a disinterested buyer.
Is your pipeline overflowing?
Get a referral. “One referral is worth….”
On your final attempt to get a meeting, clearly state your value proposition.
Don’t be a prisoner of hope!
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How do I get a meeting if the buyer is not interested?
(Transcribed from podcast)
Today, we’ve got a great question. How do you get meetings if a customer is not interested? What a great question. When’s the last time a customer sat around and said, “Gee, I wish a bunch of salespeople would call on me today so I can meet with them”? No, it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen like that. You know that. So we’re going to answer that question on today’s show. And this question also came from Randy. Randy actually submitted kind of a two-part question last time he went into the website. So, Randy, kudos to you. You get a little value added. That’s what we call it, value added. I can just sense you guys are laughing hysterically in your car as you heard that little joke I made. Well, enough of that nonsense. Let’s get down to the show. How do you get meetings if someone is not interested? This is a challenge that plagues salespeople. So, we’re going to address it today.
Before we get into that, a quick shout-out to Andrea over at The Creative Impostor Studios. You know, if you’ve ever considered starting a podcast, it’s really not as hard as you think. And the reason it’s not as hard as you think is because all you’ve got to do is call Andrea. Reach out to Andrea and her team. They’re going to help you launch the podcast. They’re going to tell you what tech you need to get started. They’re going to give you tips. They’re going to give you advice. They are here for you. Reach out to them if you want to start that podcast. It’s a great way to connect with your audience, to build an audience. And it’s great value that you provide for your team. In fact, a lot of companies that I work with, they’re starting to create internal podcasts within their own company. So, there’s an idea for you. It’s a great way to connect with your team. So anyway, reach out to Andrea. We’re going to have a link over to her website on this episode’s webpage.
Also, I’ve got big news. You know, I’ve mentioned Selling Through Tough Times in the past. That’s a book that I’ve been working on for, let’s say, it took really about eight months to write the book and submit it to my publisher, McGraw-Hill. They are editing it right now. We’re going through that process. We have a launch date scheduled. It is scheduled, but before I tell you the date, just go get a pre-order the book. Pre-order your copy. This book is your go-to guide on how you can build resilience and how you can build profit through any downturn. I know that some of the salespeople listening to this show are struggling, either mentally or they’re just struggling in their territory. This book is going to give you hope. So you can pre-order your copy of that. We’re going to have it available on this episode’s webpage. So check that out.
And also, in the meantime, pick up your copy of Value-Added Selling while you’re at Amazon. You can pick it up there or Barnes & Noble. Really, wherever you get your books.
Okay. Let’s get to it guys: how to get meetings if someone is not interested in meeting with you. Before we dissect this question, there’s a more fundamental question that I need to address. If you’re concerned about not getting enough meetings because people are not interested, then you’re not filling your pipeline enough. Randy, that is the cold, hard truth. If you’re not getting enough meetings, you need to bump up your prospecting effort. You need to reach out to more prospects, more customers. You need to fill the top of that funnel so that it is overflowing. In fact, that is the number one way to ensure that you’re getting enough meetings is to make a lot of calls. So, Randy, my first tip for you is to fill that pipeline. Do 10 times the activity that you think you need to do just to get those all-important meetings. So, keep filling that pipeline, but fill it even further. That’s number one.
And that goes for any salesperson that is struggling to get enough meetings. If you’re looking at your calendar and you’re not happy with how full it is, make more calls. Reach out to more prospects. I don’t believe sales is purely a numbers game, but it is a numbers game in some regards. And what we’re going to talk about on the show today is how we can improve your odds of success in getting more meetings. But regardless of that, you need to have the activity level there. So sales is not purely numbers. It’s also, in part, in our messaging and how we communicate, but numbers do play a big factor in it. So fill up that pipeline. That’s tip number one.
Number two. Randy, if you’re trying to get into a place that is just not interested in meeting with you, find a way to get referred to that customer. Go on LinkedIn, see who you have in common with them. See if they would arrange an introduction. Talk to any of your colleagues that work with your company, or maybe even with some of your competitors if you’ve got a good working relationship. Find a way to get referred to that decision maker.
Here’s why I say that. The referral—the referral—is much more effective than just a cold call. In fact, there was an article. It appeared, I don’t know if it was an article or study, but it appeared in the Journal of Marketing Research. They found that one referral is worth 12 cold calls. So, unless, Randy, you especially enjoy the pain and rejection of someone telling you “No, I’m not meeting with you,” get a referral. Get that referral. It’s going to help open up the door. And the reasons why referrals work is simple. Let’s say, I’m a buyer. Someone’s referred to me. Let’s say a colleague of mine says, “Hey, Paul. Would you meet with Randy? He’s got some great ideas.” Well, I know my colleague. I trust him. I like him. I believe he has good intentions, so yes, I will. I will meet with him because he says it’s a good guy. “He’s a good guy. He’s going to help out. He’s got some insight for you.” I’m going to leverage the trust of the person that is referring. That’s what salespeople do. So get that referral. It’s absolutely critical.
Another thing to consider, you know, words do matter. So there’s one phrase I love to use. And I used to use this all the time early on in my sales career, especially when I was selling propane. Propane is propane, no matter where you go. It’s sold on the commodities exchange, so it’s a true commodity product. There is nothing different between my propane and everyone else’s. But I was able to get meetings by using this one phrase, and my dad taught it to me. It was such a great tip. I kept telling my dad, “Look, you know, I get all these people that tell me, ‘Hey, meet with us when contract time is up. Six months from now, when my contract expires, then we’ll meet with you.’”
And my dad would say, “You know what? Don’t wait six months. In fact, call them back and say, ‘Look, nobody has a monopoly on good ideas. Why don’t we at least meet, and I’ll share some insight and information with you and we can go from there?’” Love that phrase: Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas. And that’s true, because if you can go in there and create value, deliver some sort of insight, remember, you still might not sell something that day, but you’re starting to sell something when their contract does expire. So, remember that phrase, Randy, Try using that in some of your messaging. Remember, nobody has a monopoly on good ideas.
Another line I like to use is “Hey, Mr. Customer. Don’t you want to understand what you’re saying no to?” And you think about that. What we’re doing is we are letting them know, “Hey, there could be something here and you’ll never know because you’re automatically rejecting it. At least give me an opportunity to share a couple of thoughts, ideas, some insights.” And that way, they’ll at least know what they’re saying no to. They might pique their interest a little bit. Just a couple thoughts.
Now, I’m going to give you just a couple more ideas. And Randy, this next one, we’ve mentioned it on several podcasts and there’s more, there’s more insight in our book Value-Added Selling. We have a whole chapter in the book dedicated to getting more appointments. So, I suggest picking up a copy just for that reason. But in the book, we talk about this acronym. It’s called GET (GET): grab their attention, establish the need, tease the customer with a benefit.
The key is your message, when you’re sending a request to meet, it has to stand out. It’s got to grab their attention. And I mentioned one of the best ways to do that is through referral. The second best way is to mention a problem that they could be experiencing. Mention a problem that your buyer could be experiencing and that’s going to grab their attention. And then you establish the need for what you’re offering, and then you tease them with some sort of benefit. That’s like a three or four sentence message that you’re going to share with this customer. But again, you’ve got to have something that pops; something that grabs their attention right off the bat.
And then, finally, last tip of the day: if you’ve reached out to a customer, a prospect several times and are nonresponsive—I mean, they’re just not returning your calls; they’re not returning your emails—just clearly lay out what your value proposition is and then don’t call on them again. And here’s what I mean, let’s say you reach out four or five times. You get no response, whatever the number is, maybe it’s eight times. On that final message, that final message where you reach out to them again, clearly state your value proposition. And that could be laid out like this, “Hi. This is Paul. I believe our solution will help save time and money. This new technology is revolutionary. It’s going to change your business. At least give me 10 to 15 minutes to share a couple thoughts and ideas.” And just put it out there. At the bottom of the email or the last thing you mention in the message, “If you’re not interested, then let me know and I’ll stop bothering you.” Give them an out.
You don’t want to become a prisoner of hope. I remember, my dad would use that phrase all the time: don’t be a prisoner of hope. And what we’re talking about is, we, as salespeople, sometimes we think we can win over every prospect or opportunity if we just make enough calls. Well, if you make a hundred calls to the same prospect, or same customer, and they don’t respond, you’re wasting time. You’re absolutely wasting time. Key is, you have to have the right message, get a referral, and be able to articulate the value proposition clearly.
All right guys. That’s the show for today. Randy, thanks again for submitting the question. If you have a question, go to the QandASalesPodcast.com. While you’re there, you can ask me a question and you can turn it into a future show. Also, you can check out the new search function on the website. St. Louis digital media, who is our website designer, they did a great job on the website, by the way. You can use that search function to look for other questions. Maybe we already have answered your question on a previous show. You’ll never know until you go there and search for it. So go there, check it out. Make sure you hit that follow button, share this with your colleagues, but most importantly make it a big day.