When we have a deadline to hit, or we sincerely feel we have amazing value to bring to our prospects, or we have big databases of contacts it’s easy to take the shotgun approach and try to contact as many people as possible in the quickest amount of time.
You know the old saying, “It’s a numbers game”. But truly is it? We see prospecting as a science, and an art: your ability to qualify someone, to build strong harmonizing rapport, and to eventually a win-win relationship is about tact and hyper-efficiency.
For example we get messages everyday from solution providers trying to offer us services for our various activities (or such ones that we do not do, like fitting of interior lighting, which is interesting). Each one is the same in their message, they have the best this, or the best that. And never, ever does one of those cold callers ask us, “Treehill, when you meet clients across continents, what are your biggest logistical challenges? I want to know if I am a fit”, or whatever else is the area of service they are providing. They just ramble for 45 seconds while we try our best to respect the fact they got us on the phone, prepare to tell them “No thanks.” And hang up cordially.
The same may go for your company in business development. Do you send out emails from pre-scripted templates that look the same in every e-mail? Do you or your team call and the second you have someone on the phone go on a 5 minute long pitch without even asking them a few qualifying questions? When someone asks you, “Who does your compound help”, is your answer 10 points long, or -worse- “we help everyone”.
Therefore we stress the importance of the one-liner when we review and audit or ideally prepare our clients’ partnering materials. Because it enables our clients to position themselves tactfully.
Especially if you have a small team or a team of one, picking a specific niche and sub-niche and if you’re really committed, a sub-sub-niche, or as we like to call it, Strike Zones, can help you really stand out, peak interest, and drastically improve your opportunity for genuine interest (as long as there is value to be created in these Zones, of course).
Think about it like this: your ankle hurts and you meet 2 doctors, one tells you he can help you with whatever you need, the other tells you he can only help you with anything from the ankle down, because it’s what he specializes in, is passionate about and really studies daily and mastered.
Which one will you go with? The one who focused on the craft relevant to your needs.
Yes, the doctor with the specialization can be turning down a lot of business from anyone who needs anything else above the ankle, and maybe he’s even qualified to help those individuals as a licensed medical professional, but because his mindset is from a place of abundance he knows he can dominate his segment and stand out from the crowd.
This takes commitment because, as we see continuously in the marketplace, it’s the fear of losing potential interest from someone outside of a strike zone that has companies scared.
When your mentality switches from ‘what if I miss out on leads, to ‘now I will have an abundance of quality conversation and qualified business development prospects’, you’ll see people will want to engage with you more because you now brand yourself as an expert or solution provider in a particular category and geographically that may particularly cater to a hole in your prospect’s own portfolio.
When you get that specific now, people who don’t fit that category don’t have to waste your or their time, but rather can sort mentally and refer you someone (within or outside their organisation) who may in fact meet that criteria.