Something to Talk About (Issue 606)

In which we are encouraged to find and share news or statistics with our clients and prospects that will prompt conversation about the little mysteries that are critical to their businesses.

I am crazy about YouTube. While many friends consider it a complete waste, I browse for whatever calls to me while I brush my teeth before bed. I particularly like live music performances.

I’ve been on a blue grass kick recently with deep dives including Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Ricky Scaggs, Alison Kraus, the Cox Family, and other long time favorites which… breaking the genre… the other night included Bonnie Raitt singing “Something to Talk About” at the Greek Theater.

I love the chorus to the song, “Let’s give them something to talk about… A little mystery to figure out.” THAT…I thought, is one key to opening or sustaining  dialog with prospects and clients. A little mystery to figure out. How do we do that?

By translating the daily news, thinking about issues in which our prospects and clients are interested or should be interested.

First, if we know them, then we probably have some clues about their interests and challenges, whether golf, gold, gross margins, or green energy.  Somewhere in our contact management systems, we should have captured those clues to help us remember AND to help us search, for example, if we wanted to find a list of our prospects who were interested in green energy.

Second, if we don’t know them, we can guess at their interests because of who they are or what they do in their companies or  in their communities. Again, somewhere in our notes, we should have captured those clues as searchable key words.

Then, we need to read… I particularly like services like Vertical IQ and business and financial web sites… to capture tidbits and turn them to good use.

For example, if our clients and prospects were independent business owners: The Institute for Business and Home Safety shared the statistic that roughly 25% of small businesses don’t reopen after major disasters.

We could share that statistic  and ask our clients or prospects, “What sorts of events could cause serious disruption in your business?  What are your disruption or disaster recovery plans?  Or how much ‘cushion capital’ do you have set aside in case disaster strikes?   A really important little mystery to figure out for any business, large or small.

And there are more targeted news items.  The American Bankers Association announced that employees initiate 60% of fraud incidents – theft from their employers. We could share that statistic and ask, “Where in your company are you vulnerable to fraud or theft?” “How do you check people when you hire them?” or “How do you check your books or transactions to ensure nobody is stealing?”

There’s new news every day, more than our clients can absorb. One of our jobs as sales people is to find the ones that matter, share them with our clients, and discuss critical issues like disruption plans and theft.

So, Extree, Extree, read all about it…. think  about prospects and clients who would be interested…. then share the news or statistics with them and prompt conversation about the little mysteries that are critical to their businesses.

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