What do Sales and Being a Detective Have in Common?

Detective WHY?

What do Sales and Being a Detective Have in Common?

Why Selling is Like Being a Detective!

I have often likened finding new customers to being a detective. In sales terms, it’s called prospecting, which, as an entrepreneur,  you should be doing daily, just like brushing your teeth.  Even when you are frantically busy, prioritize your time to reach out to 3-5 potential clients daily, or you’ll be on the roller coaster ride of feast or famine in your business. 

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Even when you have clearly identified your ideal target job title and industry, it can take some detective work to find your ideal contact within a larger organization. In major B2B sales, there are usually multiple decision-makers or influencers from the economic buyer (the one with the budget $$$ approval power) to your raving inside fan who really wants you to win to the technical buyer who might try to veto the buy based on their perceived biases and wanting to exert their influence and power. 

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In larger organizations, there might be a whole department that could potentially become your newest client, so where do you start? Typical sales advice is to go for the top, to contact the most senior person. But unless you’re selling an enterprise-wide system (one that impacts the whole organization), then the VP/C-Suite or Director has probably delegated what you’re selling to someone on their team. Your job is to find that someone. The detective phase of prospecting for new clients begins. 

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Sure, you can call and email and try to get that contact name out of the senior person but why should they help you if you’re not known to them? Talking to the departmental admin assistant might be easier and faster to get the person’s name. They are generally at their desks working away and have no reason to screen your calls.

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I’ve had the most success when I go for the middle manager. They don’t get prospecting calls quite as much as other levels and generally, if you’re polite and ask for help please……guess what, they’ll tell you who to contact and how. Treat everyone as if they have an influence on the company’s buying decision.

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PS. You can tell a lot about someone’s true character from how they treats thos who serve them like admin assistants, wait staff, retail, and travel professionals. Having put myself through grad school by being a waitress, I can confirm that some people treat wait staff as third-class citizens who are there to jump when they snap their fingers and that was at a private club too. 

 

 

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