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Real-World Questions and Answers
Q: “An Enquiro (Vancouver, BC) survey found that 93% of all business considerations begin on-line. Does that mean outbound calling and direct response, and other ‘interruption marketing’ will not work?”
A: They still work, but not as before, and often second or later in the communication sequence. Use the first outbound call to invite and encourage (great verbs!) a visit to your web site. Make a second call after the tracked visit to hear your contact’s reactions and, if they are favorable, take it from there. Also establish and maintain up-to-date presence in the BtoB social media such as LinkedIn and Focus.com.
Q: “Many of our site visitors and social media contacts take no other actions. What should we do?”
A: Call them and talk with them! Thank them and ask their business motivation for the original interaction. Based on their response, you will know whether to influence, advance, sell, or disengage for now.
Q: “Executive contacts want to send me ‘downstairs’ to a manager or have me talk to some other underling. How can I maintain high-level contact?”
A: Ask Mr/Ms Executive three questions … “Will you please introduce me in a multi-way phone conversation?” “If we / our company / our product look like a good fit from both technical and business perspectives, will that person have your OK to act?” “May I report our progress to you from time to time?”
Q: “Many of my prospects and customers speak foreign languages. It is really hard to understand and be understood. Suggestions?”
A: Absent mutual understanding, there is no influence. When the issue is ESL, communicate almost entirely via e-mail. Also consider finding a native speaker of their language or a translator.
Q: “My contact is not actually the decision-maker. How can I make sure I’m not wasting sales or marketing time and effort?”
A: Ask one or more of these questions …
“If you like what you see and hear from me, what happens next?” or “Tell me about all the people we have to convince, and how shall we do that?” Reveals the process and usually the participants.
“The last few times you’ve proposed this type of purchase or project, what happened?” Reveals the contact’s won-lost record and helps you assess the likelihood this time.
“As you go forward with this proposal or project, who will support you and who will oppose you?” Reveals the political climate and the contact’s standing with the rest of his\her team and with management.
“On a scale of 11, with 11 the highest, how confident are you that we can make this happen?” Truth or dare time.
Q: “We were making good progress but now my contact is hard to get a hold of and we seem stuck in neutral. What do you recommend?”
A: Call the contact and say (or leave) a message to this effect, “Mr/Ms Prospect, we appear have a good matchup and yet we seem stuck in neutral. Please tell me where we stand … should we pursue this now? If so, what do you want me to do? If later on, then please suggest a time frame and how you’d like me to stay in touch. If I should drop it for now, please let me know and I will honor your request.” Still no response, send a similar e-mail. Beyond that, follow your company rules of engagement and disengagement.
Q: “I’m getting beat up over price even though they agree that our solution is the best for them. How can I beat this and make it win-win?”
A: Depending how they specifically express the price objection, use one or more of these approaches …
Reconfirm each element of the solution you propose, and its value, based exactly on what they told you they want and need. Help them see and respect that the price represents precisely what they specified.
Offer to remove elements until they either agree to the smaller system or tell you to reinstate the components because they need them. Alternate: demonstrate what they do not get from other companies that they do get from yours.
Reconfirm as described above and then multiply by the value of the intangibles, such as advanced technology, maintenance included, reputation, etc.
Show how the differential cost diminishes over time, or divide the total price by costs per use, etc., so that the all-in dollars look less intimidating.
Q: “The alleged sales leads we get are not worth the bits and bytes they are made of.”
A: Do all the things you have experienced at this site thus far. Then get in touch! We advise and train BtoB marketing and sales organizations. Together, we will resolve the issues and help you produce viable leads and win actual sales!