Whilst identifying the right person to see within the myriad of possible stakeholders you might come across on a daily basis is a difficult enough challenge in itself, getting face-time with that key decision maker is another challenge all together.
In fact, one of the most common questions we receive is, ‘how can you increase your chances of getting an appointment when you have no previous relationship with them?’
Here’s what we know about our customers.
There are more choices than ever before available.
They have far less tolerance than ever before for the sub-optimal, mediocre or just plain average.
There is more information flooding into them on a daily basis and more requests for a meeting.
They have far less time than ever before to process and decide on the best course of action.
In times gone by the model was simple. Sell the product or service. Deliver some sort of in-service. Create value.
But that model has now flipped.
In order to stand out, to be differentiated and to make progress we must look for ways to create value first.
And so as frustrating as it can be when the person you’ve identified as your key decision maker appears inaccessible, it also provides a great opportunity to turn the theory of ‘creating value’ into something practical.
The Power Of Six
The research shows that on average, a customer or consumer will require six ‘touches’ before they’re willing to commit to action. And that doesn’t necessarily mean the action of buying. It can also be the action of a first meeting, demonstration or evaluation. In fact, it could be anything that would allow the commercial objective to progress.
And a ‘touch’ is anything that lets the customer know that you’re there which, coupled with the intention to ‘create value’, ensures that you begin to position yourself as someone who can make a difference to the customer and their organisation.
The Power Of Six comes in the form of a system of touches that can then be delivered periodically over a 12 week period. And the touches can include a range of activities including but not limited to the following:
- Update someone on the latest industry trends
- Give someone a book you think they’d like
- Update someone on the latest news
- Update someone with articles related to their field of interest
- Send links to videos or blogs
- Update people on the latest product news
- Update people on the latest promotions or offers
- Offer someone a referral
- Provide someone with networking opportunities
- Provide information about a congress or education event
- Share with them the latest relevant smartphone applications
- Find out what kinds of hobbies people have and send them articles, links, or ideas on the subject
- If you are going to an event, take someone with you
- Pay for someone’s lunch or dinner
- Connect people who you think can benefit from each other
- Highlight relevant opportunities
- Share your knowledge with others. Don’t keep your best ideas and strategies to yourself
- Give someone the opportunity to meet a key opinion leader or thought leader
The types of ‘touches’ you can use are unlimited but the key here is beginning to position yourself as a credible expert – the credible expert – and someone who can create value and significance to the customer. And 12 weeks is just the right amount of time and frequency of touches. In essence, it means you’re creating value for your potential customer every other week.
Because despite the noise and bombardment customers receive the only way to stand out in the market place is to create more value than the person beside you and to acknowledge that for the first time in sales history, it is the sales person who offers the greatest point of differentiation – not the product.
I’ve uploaded a PowerPoint template you can use to create this type of touch system at SlideShare.net and you can access it via https://www.slideshare.net/secret/ABeKQGJQ6Whjqo
If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please get in touch in the comments below or via firstname.lastname@example.org