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Last week, I wrote about the theory behind these sales tactics. You should review that first if you’re interested.

The key is being able to identify an ideal prospect and ‘know’ who you are communicating with. There’s a simple way to determine a qualified lead from an unqualified lead: ask the people involved.

Now let’s figure out how to ask.

I’m going to ask you to do a quick exercise. If you are not sure this exercise is worth your while, you can ask any of the FileMaker Developers in Seattle, Portland and Santa Clara who attended user-group meetings last month. It’s the same exercise we started with there.

Exercise

Write the word ‘DESPISE’ and underline it. Now, think about the projects you’ve worked on and the ones you’ve not landed that caused a strong and negative visceral reaction. Think especially about the projects you almost landed and the ones you knew, in your gut, that you wouldn’t get. Consider everything about the project. Brainstorm on this for 15 minutes or so. Here are some starter questions:

  • Which projects have you avoided working on? Why?
  • Who do you dread calling? What about them made this so?
  • Which projects gave you heartburn (literally)?
  • What tells you in the first five minutes of talking to a prospect that they’re ‘bad’?
  • Company Size
  • Industry
  • Who from the prospect company is involved?
  • What technologies are at play?
  • Where did you meet them?
  • What’s their communication style?
  • How do they pay?

Now, below your long list of things you despise about projects, write the work ‘LOVE’ and underline it. Again, think about the projects you’ve worked on and the ones you’ve not landed that caused a strong and positive visceral reaction. Consider everything about the project. Brainstorm on this for 15 minutes or so. Here are some starter questions:

  • Which projects kept you so excited you couldn’t put them down? Why?
  • Who do look forward to speaking with? Why?
  • What tells you in the first five minutes of talking to a prospect that they’re ‘great’?
  • Company Size
  • Industry
  • Who from the prospect company is involved?
  • What technologies are at play?
  • Where did you meet them?
  • What’s their communication style?
  • How do they pay?
  • Prioritize your list. Identify the top five or six items.

Identify how you can bring these topics up in the first few minutes of conversation with a prospect.

I’m not advocating you script the first phone call; however, planning your first call is critical. You need to know what information you’re after and few ways to get it. To start with, I’d draft a couple questions regarding each topic. During the conversation, you can ask the questions as they’re written or adapt them however you see fit. But you must cover these five or six areas to know if this lead should progress to the next stage of your sales funnel. Should you be spending more time with them or referring them elsewhere because you’re not a good fit?

Keep these criteria and questions near the phone where you typically have the first phone call with each prospect and USE IT to screen out prospects who will eventually say ‘no’ anyway. You’re going to find the ‘no’ sooner.

This is simple stuff. But, that doesn’t necessarily make it easy; so, I’m including real examples from Skeleton Key’s own input from this

exercise.

Jason Thomas manages Business Development at Skeleton Key.

About Skeleton Key

Skeleton Key is an accomplished team of technology consultants who solve business problems. We specialize in the rapid development of custom applications, integrating Macs and PCs in the professional workplace, and providing personalized training.

Despite our end-to-end technical skills, we are consultant first and technologist second. We know that you don’t just need technology. You need to know that the technology you choose to deploy will provide the results you desire.

Skeleton Key is a Platinum Level FileMaker Business Alliance company, an Authorized FileMaker Trainer, a member of the Apple Consultants Network and a Microsoft Registered Partner.

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