My only blind date, as it turns out. This unlikely match occurred because, while I’d flown to Boston to see someone else, my intended date for the evening got a better offer and put me on ice for the evening by suggesting a blind date with her friend. Who knew? Turned out to be long lasting ice and the last instance of my beginning a dating relationship with an introduction or referral.
While that approach produced more than satisfactory results for me, I observed others using different approaches. Some of the most successful were the guys who I’d now call “event-based marketers.” Meaning, they broke the ice with the unsuspecting, the unwilling, or the aloof in opportune moments involving some incident – a problem with a car, a spilled beer, an invitation to participate in a community event, something that happened at a party, a challenge with a client, a project deadline. The key was, a conversation triggering event to work from. Some of these happened naturally; others were artfully contrived.
The most successful prospectors use this same approach when they’re approaching business prospects. If we can’t get introduced, unreferred / unintroduced approaches are more successful when they’re tied to triggering events that mean our prospects might need or be more open to consider what we offer, events that create interest or increase urgency to act. Depending on what we’re selling, these could include:
- A new product introduction
- One or more new customers
- New expansion
- Change in priorities or focus
- Critical new hires or executive changes
- Change of ownership or merger.
For example. Suppose we’re selling cash management services. We notice a prospect is expanding. The expansion is the trigger event. The likely impact is strains on their cash flow and ability to manage cash and receipts. They could be at risk for theft or fraud. The approach could start something like this:
“Ms. Jones, Nick Miller, ABC Company. We help companies reduce the time and cost to protect and manage cash and receipts. Do you have a moment to speak?”
” I noticed you’re opening two additional locations. Congratulations! And, I’m curious about how you’ll secure and handle the additional cash and checks at four locations so far apart.”