In Part 2, we talked about increasing the quality of the prospects you choose to access. The research you did to find the good prospects will serve you as you move to the access stage. At this point, you have identified Strong Suspect companies that are likely “good for you.” You have also identified Good Prospect companies by determining that you are likely “good for them.” The work you have done in the first two steps clearly informs what you can do next.
The third part of making your prospecting effort more effective involves access. The key to gaining effective access is to present the right message to the right person. The right message offers information that is meaningful and relevant to the prospect. The right person is an individual who can guide you into the organization. There must be a strong connection between the person and the message.
Here’s how it might work for you . . .
The first access messages are about capturing the attention of the right person through specific topics that are of interest to him or her. Your message must address or highlight a specific issue that is important to the prospect at the point in time he or she receives your message. Readiness is key and multiple messages are critical for an effective access effort that considers both the person and his or her issue.
One approach to finding the right person is to consider the organizational hierarchy and the issues that are relevant and of interest to the various levels. An individual’s position in the organizational hierarchy can help you determine the most compelling access message.
Reflecting on your offering’s value, who in an organization might be receptive? Consider hierarchy and function. A good call point might be a person who:
- Finds the greatest usage value in what you have to offer
- Controls the budget or has buying authority
- Has access to the people above
Customers buy for their own reasons, not yours. An effective access message must speak to a significant customer issue—to their reasons! Without that connection, an access message is just another sales pitch.
Armed with the business connection and the right person, follow this simple approach to create an effective access message:
- Explain who you are and why you are making contact
- Include a statement that links to an important prospect issue
- Promise to help, linking the prospect’s issues with your value proposition
- Propose a way for the prospect to explore the issue in greater depth with you
Don’t limit yourself to one medium (call, voice mail, email); recognize that the above approach should be followed using a variety of modes.
Remember, it takes an average of eight attempts to reach a prospect. Yet, the average salesperson only makes two cold call attempts. Make your access messages count.