Are Your Prospecting Results Disappointing?

No Me, Myself, and I MessagesAre you struggling with prospecting? My last post, “Stop Selling and Start Succeeding” was about relationship selling for sustainable, profitable sales results. Building quality relationships is a step-by-step process. The first step is prospecting, and getting it right is critical.

When I first began selling, I was not achieving my sales goals. My prospecting results were dismal. And if you can’t get to first base, bringing the sale home is impossible. Prospecting is one of the most challenging stages of the sale. Laborious hours of cold calling, emails, and handshaking at events that result in many no’s and few yeses is frustrating.

Acting on the belief that prospecting is a numbers game, I relentlessly pushed the stone uphill. I was convinced that my optimism, enthusiasm, confidence, determination, and persistence were the keys to my success. While a great attitude is necessary to become a top sales producer, more is needed.

My pitch and presentations were about my products and services, our impeccable values, and promises of successful outcomes. This me-centric sales practice was common. Our manager preached it, and we followed the plan, but I was not getting the desired results. Back then, there was less sales material available than what is currently published on a daily basis. I was in the dark searching for a solution.

Bill, a retired entrepreneur who led me to my career in sales, gave me the answer to my prospecting problems. He went back to the first time we met and showed me how my curiosity, fascination, and sincere interest in his colorful sales stories, inspired him to share with me. Bill explained, “This is a customer-centric approach. And this is why I was motivated to encourage you to become a sales professional.”

Bill showed me how the company I was working for used a sales-centric approach and he helped me understand the difference between the two. Focusing on client’s stories, needs, wants, and problems, the customer-centric method; improved my prospecting dramatically. And my sales skyrocketed. Instead of feeling like a prisoner on a chain gang breaking rocks, prospecting became fun!

Sales-centric selling is a problem that persists today. Just this past month, I have been discussing this issue with a group of top sales and marketing consultants. We all agree that the vast majority of prospecting calls and emails we all receive are sales-centric messages and pitches filled with “me” statements, “my products, our services, our existing clients…” you get the picture.

An author recently sent me a short announcement for a book launch that concisely illustrates the sales-centric approach. To use it as an example, the title has been  changed and body modified to protect the author:

“How to Prospect Successfully” – Book Sale by John Doe

My book is available!!! I’m so excited. I hope everyone will support me and enjoy their own copy of my book. Please share with friends and family. I am so passionate about prospecting and I am thrilled to be able to reach out to so many with my book. Proceeds from this month’s sale of the book will support the “Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.” Please help support this worthy cause!! Use this link to order your copy today!! 

Stats for this Sales-Centric Message:

  • 8 “Me” words – sales-centric
  • 1 “You” word – customer-centric
  • 5 of the first 21 words are “Me” words
  • Nearly 10% of the entire text is “Me” words

Here is how I would have written this message:

“How to Prospect Successfully” – New Book by John Doe

Are you looking for a prospecting method to help you and your sales team achieve and surpass your revenue targets? Early in my career, prospecting was a struggle for me too. Forty years of my prospecting success is now available in this new book, written, just for you.

Proceeds from your purchases this month will support the “Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.” Please help support this worthy cause and improve your prospecting skills with a purchase at the link below.

You Messages are GoodStats for this Customer-Centric Message:

  • 7 “You” words
  • 3 “Me” words
  • 4  of the first 20 words are “You” words
  • Nearly 10% of the entire text is “You” words

How do you change from sales-centric to customer-centric prospecting?

If your prospecting messages are sales-centric, you’re not alone. But now you know a major road block to prospecting success that is easy to fix.

To create powerful, customer-centric calls and emails you must “Know thy Client.” Learn about their industry, who the decision makers are: their needs, wants, goals, and pains. This is the knowledge you need to create customer-centric messages that will attract your clients to want to do business with you.

 “Me” messages say to your client, “You’re not important, I just want the sale.”

“You” messages say to your client, “You’re important to me, and I’d like to do business with you.”

Which type of message do you think will lead to greater sales success?