Every once in a while, the CEO of an organization should have to make a few new business sales calls. Yes, cold calls (gasp!).
The CEO should not imitate an episode of “Undercover Boss” by making the call anonymously. And he or she should not be calling friends, associates and vendors who will gladly open the doors for them. They should call people they don’t know — just as the sales force and staffers have to do.
This applies to CEOs of non-profits too, who sell their agency’s services or ask for a grant or sponsorship.
Keys To New Business Success
My firm, Farris Marketing, has developed and instituted new business development programs for manufacturing organizations, banks and every type of business you can imagine. We’ve been doing this for over 20 years. We’ve learned a lot about what it takes to be successful.
One key to success is getting top management involved — even if that means having the CEO make some new business calls, leave voice mails and send emails for a couple hours.
Another is to remember that new business (sales) is an ongoing part and full-time function of any successful business or organization. Businesses have sales departments. Non-profits have development departments.
The last key is understanding that a successful new business program requires a three-pronged approach — the right people, the right process and the right message. Each component is equally important.
I don’t have enough space to talk about the right people or the process, so today let’s talk about developing the right message. Sometimes it’s the right messages — plural — because you must adapt to the market you’re approaching.
Powerful Sales Messages
A powerful sales message starts with a Value Proposition. Some people call it an elevator speech, a mission or something else.
I like to integrate Value Propositions into a small calling script, voice mail or email because it forces you to take the stiff words out of it. If it’s a good Value Proposition, it should work in all three of these formats. But not all Value Propositions are created equal.
A good Value Proposition should tell people who you are, what benefit you provide the customer, and how you do that. Though not actually part of the statement, most Value Propositions are followed by a Call to Action.
Say This, Not That
Note that a Value Proposition does NOT present “what you do.” This is the most common mistake. Instead it focuses on the benefit or value you provide to clients or customers.
Here’s a bad Value Proposition statement in the form of a calling script:
“Hi Miss Jones, this is George Farris from Farris Marketing. We develop strategy, conduct research, develop logos, create media plans, develop TV commercials, print and digital marketing, videos and all kinds of websites. Do you need any of these things today?”
Here’s a good Value Proposition statement:
“Hi Miss Jones, this is George Farris from Farris Marketing. We show you how to stand out and connect with prospects — even if the competition outspends you. We do this with a proprietary system of research, strategy, marketing tools and creative messaging that we’ve developed and refined over 30 years in business. Would you like to discuss how you can use this system to reach some of your goals?”
You can craft your Value Proposition statement following that pattern. Then adapt it to a calling script, voice mail and email message. Remember to include who you are, what benefit you provide the customer, and how you do that.
Then get that CEO on the phone!