reach out to strangers. Yikes!!
What do you do when your warm market… friends, colleagues, word of mouth and referrals, slow down? When that happens, you don’t get the growth or new accounts you need.
You have to learn to prospect and sell to people/companies that look just like great clients, but don’t know you and have not been referred.
It is not an easy transition. Why?
1. Selling methods must change.
Habits are tough to break. If you are used to selling to those that know you or have been referred, a new approach is necessary when selling to strangers.
They don’t know you. Rather than get right to it, you need to spend time communicating a difference worth a spit and communicating credibility. Most assume this is unnecessary and make light of this to their later chagrin.
2. Singing your old sales song will not work.
Selling to strangers means retooling not only what you communicate, but the structure of your interactions. What is best communicated in the beginning, in the middle, and the end? Be prepared to change your song.
3. The biggest mistake you can make…
You wait too long to start learning how to attract and sell to strangers. Being stressed about new business increases the odds of failure. It will suck to be you.
4. Unrealistic expectations
Most first efforts to prospect and sell go through multiple phases. Your first efforts are unlikely to work perfectly or deliver what you want right out of the gate. Expect to need to improve as you progress. Set up short cycles or tests that you evaluate, learn from, and then keep building on what is working.
Most rush into cold outreach efforts without proper prep or expectations and when they don’t see immediate results, declare “cold outreach doesn’t work.” That costs them a very viable new business option.
5. The biggest lie you tell yourself.
“Once we get a meeting with a qualified prospect, we can close them.”
This is rarely true when you start selling to those who don’t know you, have never heard of you, and have not been referred. What worked with your warm market will flame out when talking to strangers. You will need to retool in many areas.
For new companies or emerging businesses, rolodexes seem to stop delivering what is needed to grow around the $4-$6 million mark in my experience.
Don’t wait too long to start building up your cold outreach muscles. You want to be ready when you really need it.