I had an interesting experience with the Better Business Bureau this morning. First, they’ve been calling and leaving a message for the ‘owner or president’ for weeks. When the guy called this morning I decided to call him back.
He started by telling me he had good news and asked me if I was aware of the BBB accreditation program. When I said ‘yes’ he told me my company qualified for the program and then proceeded to ask me a bunch of questions about my business.
Okay, wait a minute. How can my company qualify for a program if the organization doing the qualifying knows nothing about my company? They don’t even know enough to leave a message for me by name.
The gentleman read through his script telling me of the ‘benefits’ of accreditation and then launched right into more information gathering – like how my company is listed with the Secretary of State’s office. I had to stop him to tell him I wasn’t interested.
I shared that over the 13 years that I’ve been in business I’ve done very well gaining clients because I have a great reputation and am known throughout the area. I didn’t see how BBB accreditation would be able to help me do any better.
This was like a lesson in what not to do in a sales process.
First of all, if you’re going to reach out to someone you believe would benefit from your product or service, know who you are contacting. Do your homework and be able to connect your offering to their need. Unfortunately, this guy was dialing for dollars and it was obvious.
Second, instead of asking questions you should know the answer to, ask questions that get to the heart of the value you bring. When he asked me how clients find me he could have gone deeper into the conversation around that point. Instead it was really just on a list of questions he had to ask. There was nothing tethered to it.
Third, if you are asking the right kinds of questions you will know whether there is a fit and can talk to that fit. Otherwise, don’t assume your product or service is right for everyone. It isn’t!
If I’m completely honest I find it disappointing that one of the largest business organizations in the world does not practice what I believe to be effective sales processes. The good news is that we can all learn from their practices. Think about how you are engaging with prospects and consider the three points above as you evaluate.