What Might Be Different (Issue 549)

In which we are prompted to move with the flow, to the future, when a prospect puts us off.

“It’s John Nichols,” my very wonderful associate said. “Do you know him?  He’s from ‘Living-Leads’ Company.  Do you want me to take a message?  It sounds like a sales call.”

I don’t know what got into me. I took the call.

“Nick,” he said. “John Nichols from Living-Leads.  Following up on the email I sent you two weeks ago.”

“Sorry, John, don’t remember it. Probably deleted without reading because I didn’t recognize your name or your company.”

“The subject line was ‘No Brainer Growth Strategy for 2012. November 15th.”

I looked. I found it. I quickly read the email which said, in part,

“Looking to grow your business in 2012? Living-Leads  marketing automation solution is a No Brainer growth strategy for you and your clients. The combination of Living-Leads marketing automation platform, knowledge of best practices, and on-demand professional services is a great combination for any company looking to grow fast and avoid increasing fixed overhead costs. With a flexible partnership program and solutions starting at just $750 per month, partnering with Living-Leads is a No Brainer.”

I am interested in marketing. I felt a little curious.  However, we have a strong marketing platform in our company and I’d rather pull out a tooth with pliers than think about changing that now, several weeks before year end, in the middle of planning etc. etc. etc. Also, I had NO idea what the email really said.  So, I asked…

“John, in plain language, what value could your solution create with my company?”

“Generate new leads, more leads, and more qualified leads through promotional offers and nuture those leads to sales readiness using automated drip marketing campaigns.”

“OK,” I said, “I understand that….. And what about the partnership program?”

“Refer or resell. Either way, we compensate you.”

“OK,” I said. “I understand that… Hold on for a second.”    I quickly flipped out to Living-Leads’ web site and read for a minute. Good site!

“John,  Thanks for your call. Good concept. Not right for us now. Can’t even think about it. Call me back, 6 or 9 months. Remind me that I said so.”

“OK,” he said.  We ended the call.  I’m guessing I’m now a lead in their marketing automation platform.  Can’t wait to see what happens next.

So what do we see here?   On a normal day, my associate would have probably told him to go pound sand and  he was lucky to get through to me.  Check. He clearly stated his value proposition – short, crisp, crystal clear.  Check.  Very important.   His web site helped him get an invitation to call me back.  Check. Check. That was really important.  Quick validation of what I was hearing. Critical. I was willing to give it 30 seconds.

However, maybe you’re thinking that John should have:

(1) pushed for an appointment (as in, “If you think this might be helpful in 9 months, let’s meet now so you can understand it better”),

(2) challenged me on the opportunity cost of waiting 6 – 9 months (as in, “you could be missing significant opportunity to build your pipeline if you wait”),

(3)  asked me “well, how do you do things now?”, looking to poke holes, or

(4) offered to send me something.

To his credit, he did none of those things, all of which would have irritated me.

However, he could have asked one question to open up the conversation right on the spot: “What might be different in 6 months to 9 months that would prompt you to look at us any differently than you did today?”

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