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If you are interested in calling on larger companies, my experience is you must come in swinging. You should know going in that you are probably a good fit. That means you've researched their company and determined that your solution can help them solve problems and build revenue.

Most likely the decision maker won't have time to schedule an old school "consultative solution" meeting. You are tasked with knowing the answers ahead of time. Find out how they are solving problems now, figure out what they are doing wrong, and how you can improve their situation for more profit at less cost.

Cold calling one time may get you in to the right person, but you will probably get voice mail. You have to embark on a campaign of calling, emailing, direct mail, content marketing and social media marketing. A comprehensive attack will get you inside. Finding the right balance of persistence comes from experience.

These days, your USP won't be enough. Create a value proposition and be aggressive with it. Here is how to craft one:
http://www.jillkonrath.com/sales-blo...ue-Proposition

This approach calls for more preparation upfront. But doing your homework will give you Ben Feldman-level conviction, meaning that you KNOW you can help the prospect, and exactly how to do it. Getting them to agree is a matter of course. You won't get them all, but your success rate will skyrocket. Yes, you will have to tailor your solution based on their information, but come in with some sound ideas.

Here is one way to plan for negotiating with the target company:
A Step-by-Step Guide to Winning (Almost) Every Single Negotiation
As Neil Patel says in the post, do your homework. Have case studies ready to go. Tell them what is happening in the market. You are the expert in sales, SEO, content, copywriting, whatever.

Get some swagger. You've paid your dues. You can deliver on your service better than anyone. Go whale hunting and get rich.
#hunting #whale
  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    So you're going to presume you already know their problem and that you have the best solution, before you ever talk to them?

    That's like going to see the doctor, and before they do any diagnosis they prescribe an arm cast, antiboitics and a foot amputation.

    I can't agree with this one, Joe, sorry. I "whale hunt" and don't do it this way.

    The combined marketing approach is a good tip, though.
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    • Profile picture of the author Talltom1
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      So you're going to presume you already know their problem and that you have the best solution, before you ever talk to them?

      That's like going to see the doctor, and before they do any diagnosis they prescribe an arm cast, antiboitics and a foot amputation.

      I can't agree with this one, Joe, sorry. I "whale hunt" and don't do it this way.

      The combined marketing approach is a good tip, though.

      The people on this forum that know me, are aware that I'm tightly focused on a specific industry niche.

      So I'll respond by saying that I do not 'presume' - I know exactly what their problems are even before I know who they are. And yup, I definitely do have the best solution that I've been able to develop to this point to solve those problems for them. That's why, when I start communicating with these people in my niche, they pay a h*ll of a lot of attention to me and what I've got to say.

      For me to be at the other end of this sales equation, receiving an email or a phone call from a 'consultant' spewing some sort of useless value proposition, and offering to study my situation so that a diagnosis or recommendations can be made is an absolute waste of my time - worse than spam. Not knowing in advance, the problems and the challenges of my industry immediately labels you as a newbie with no credibility.

      Your analogy of the doctor is completely wrong.

      Talltom1
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    • Profile picture of the author joe golfer
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      So you're going to presume you already know their problem and that you have the best solution, before you ever talk to them?

      That's like going to see the doctor, and before they do any diagnosis they prescribe an arm cast, antiboitics and a foot amputation.

      I can't agree with this one, Joe, sorry. I "whale hunt" and don't do it this way.

      The combined marketing approach is a good tip, though.
      Funny you mention doctors. Today I was thinking about a sales slump I was in a few years ago. I was feeling really down. I went to a shrink.

      I said, "Doc, things are bad, I'm feeling suicidal. What should I do?"

      He said, "Pay me in advance."
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    • Profile picture of the author joe golfer
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      So you're going to presume you already know their problem and that you have the best solution, before you ever talk to them?

      That's like going to see the doctor, and before they do any diagnosis they prescribe an arm cast, antiboitics and a foot amputation.

      I can't agree with this one, Joe, sorry. I "whale hunt" and don't do it this way.

      The combined marketing approach is a good tip, though.
      I hear what you are saying, and it makes sense. I think of it as a doctor who is trying to see a very important client who is too busy to visit her. She studies his life and work to get a handle on his medical condition. She finally gets in to see him.

      By doing lots of homework about the patient, she knows what to put in her medical bag. (Do they still have those?) After meeting with him, he argues with her--he's fine. But she knows medicine. She has studied his situation. He's not fine.

      She already knows he smokes too much, drinks too much, needs a wisdom tooth removed and wants to battle his receding hairline. Upon meeting him, he is amazed how prepared she is.

      Yes, he wants to quit smoking, cut back on the Scotch and Waters, and take care of that tooth. But he doesn't care about his hairline. What he really wants is surgery to remove the bags under his eyes. Can she handle that? No, but she knows a specialist and will schedule the surgery.

      He is relieved. He feels more in control of his life (Belfort). She persisted in seeing him and had a very good idea of what he needed. After talking to him, she wasn't totally accurate, but the only way the patient revealed his desire to get rid of the bags was he felt like he was in the hands of a pro. He could trust her.

      ...OK, lots of holes in that analogy but I ran out of steam. You get the gist.

      Because this approach entails lots of homework, I only do it for bigger fish. I still go after a range of accounts because I want to have a full business outlook/education, but super-preparation will win the big ones.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
        Originally Posted by joe golfer View Post

        I hear what you are saying, and it makes sense. I think of it as a doctor who is trying to see a very important client who is too busy to visit her. She studies his life and work to get a handle on his medical condition. She finally gets in to see him.

        By doing lots of homework about the patient, she knows what to put in her medical bag. (Do they still have those?) After meeting with him, he argues with her--he's fine. But she knows medicine. She has studied his situation. He's not fine.

        She already knows he smokes too much, drinks too much, needs a wisdom tooth removed and wants to battle his receding hairline. Upon meeting him, he is amazed how prepared she is.

        Yes, he wants to quit smoking, cut back on the Scotch and Waters, and take care of that tooth. But he doesn't care about his hairline. What he really wants is surgery to remove the bags under his eyes. Can she handle that? No, but she knows a specialist and will schedule the surgery.

        He is relieved. He feels more in control of his life (Belfort). She persisted in seeing him and had a very good idea of what he needed. After talking to him, she wasn't totally accurate, but the only way the patient revealed his desire to get rid of the bags was he felt like he was in the hands of a pro. He could trust her.

        ...OK, lots of holes in that analogy but I ran out of steam. You get the gist.

        Because this approach entails lots of homework, I only do it for bigger fish. I still go after a range of accounts because I want to have a full business outlook/education, but super-preparation will win the big ones.
        So how do you know what their problem is before you ever meet them? They don't exactly advertise it on their website.

        You can screen at the start of the conversation for typical problems experienced by people in that niche which you can solve, and that's what I do.
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        • Profile picture of the author Matt Lee
          Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

          So how do you know what their problem is before you ever meet them? They don't exactly advertise it on their website.

          You can screen at the start of the conversation for typical problems experienced by people in that niche which you can solve, and that's what I do.

          It's easy to figure out their pains, even if they don't know WHAT their real pains are online. A little research on your end, will get their attention when you start mentioning where they rank in google, what their spending on PPC, what their social metrics look like. website erros, etc etc.

          Even if they don't know what "social metrics" is, you're going to get brownie points for knowing more about their online presence than THEY do.
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          • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
            Originally Posted by Matt Lee View Post

            It's easy to figure out their pains, even if they don't know WHAT their real pains are online. A little research on your end, will get their attention when you start mentioning where they rank in google, what their spending on PPC, what their social metrics look like. website erros, etc etc.

            Even if they don't know what "social metrics" is, you're going to get brownie points for knowing more about their online presence than THEY do.
            How much time do you spend talking to people and they seem interested, and then they disappear? Does that ever happen?
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            • Profile picture of the author savidge4
              Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

              How much time do you spend talking to people and they seem interested, and then they disappear? Does that ever happen?
              Right off the bat I am going to agree with Joe here. Sorry Joe! If you can walk into a meeting have collected all or most of the data you can bring up on your prospect, puts you as a presenter in a very interesting place. You no longer are throwing out concepts of what your product service will do, you are targeting Spent vs. Savings.

              I sell SEO and web design. Preferably to companies that use PPC. I know what they spend within 10% on a bad day. I know what they are targeting. I can then do a bit more research and see what it is they are selling specifically. The ONLY number I do not have walking in is ROI. and 99% of the time that is answered the first time I ask.

              I know what they have Spent, I know what I cost. I can then tell them how much they can save. It has Ben Feldman written all over it!

              Mr. Kanigan, you asked do the prospects ever disappear... well sure they do. I / we cant close them all. I believe a minor factor in not closing is the fact I do walk in with so much information. It, I am sure can be uncomfortable for the prospect to sit through 20 30 minutes of their numbers analysed from someone they are sure they didn't give them to.

              Right before the "Close" portion of my presentation I do go over how I got all of this information. So that they understand not just myself, but their competitors look at this stuff. I then explain how my system better masks these numbers. Then I close!
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            • Profile picture of the author Matt Lee
              Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

              How much time do you spend talking to people and they seem interested, and then they disappear? Does that ever happen?
              Of course, that happens in every business. You never close everyone that that's "interested" in your services. The key is to allocate your time appropriately. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Why not be prepared for those shots?

              But I couldn't agree more with you that it's important to qualify them as soon as you can & cut your losses after a certain point.
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    • Profile picture of the author Iconiplex
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      So you're going to presume you already know their problem and that you have the best solution, before you ever talk to them?

      That's like going to see the doctor, and before they do any diagnosis they prescribe an arm cast, antiboitics and a foot amputation.

      I can't agree with this one, Joe, sorry. I "whale hunt" and don't do it this way.

      The combined marketing approach is a good tip, though.
      Yes, you should know what they need.

      Article refuting your very mentality: Norm Brodsky on Identifying Outstanding Salespeople | Inc.com
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Look at the stats on page 2

    http://www.trainingindustry.com/uplo...g-Sales(1).pdf

    Those are from research by The Sales Board that is industry standard.

    From what you've described, you and I sell in completely different ways. How you can prescribe before you diagnose is beyond me. You can walk in with data, you can walk in with knowledge of what typical problems you solve for people in this particular niche, but the fact is if THEY don't acknowledge that they have one of those problems, you won't get a sale.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      I know a guy who has a mortgage company... I know his pain points. I know what he needs. He strongly disagrees. He wants to do something, what he's been doing (just more of it and for less money).

      I can help him with that... but I don't think he'll achieve his stated goals... though it might get him a 10-20% extra business.

      So, yes, it helps if you know all you can know ahead of time. But they still have to want it. And, if they have 10 pain points but only want to work on 3 of them? How do you know which 3 without a bit of consulting?
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    • Profile picture of the author joe golfer
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Look at the stats on page 2

      http://www.trainingindustry.com/uplo...g-Sales(1).pdf

      Those are from research by The Sales Board that is industry standard.

      From what you've described, you and I sell in completely different ways. How you can prescribe before you diagnose is beyond me. You can walk in with data, you can walk in with knowledge of what typical problems you solve for people in this particular niche, but the fact is if THEY don't acknowledge that they have one of those problems, you won't get a sale.
      You are right. My experience is you won't get the chance to talk to them, set an appointment or have a meeting without showing tremendous preparation up front.

      Consider it this way from Jill Konrath's "Selling To Big Companies":

      "Don’t Expect Them to Tell You about Their Business

      Again, this is a time-related issue, compounded by the ready access everyone has to information about their company. Corporate decision makers expect you to get yourself fully grounded about their business, industry, market trends, objectives, customers, competitors, and challenges—prior to initiating contact.

      The reality, unfortunately, is that you can only learn so much when you’re on the outside. They know that. As long as you do your homework and research their company before you call or meet with them, they’re okay. But you’ll totally destroy any credibility if you don’t do that. Corporate decision makers won’t take time to educate you in more depth about their firm until you’ve proven your willingness to invest your own time first."

      Konrath, Jill (2012-06-13). Selling to Big Companies (Kindle Locations 500-504). . Kindle Edition.
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  • Profile picture of the author Excel Fields
    Love this thread! It works great when you're working in a very specific niche/vertical.
    A lot of these guys (prospective clients) have the same problems. I have two whales
    that we're submitting proposals to on monday. We didn't interview them at all Jason.
    The communications were mostly done by email. We gave them an initial quote over
    the telephone friday. (High Five figures Annually)

    One of the biggest problems is too many offliners generalize, sell several different products/services to anyone that will take their phone call.

    Generalists struggle & stay broke! Specialists focus on one thing until they master it
    and get paid!
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  • Profile picture of the author joe golfer
    Originally Posted by DABK View Post

    I know a guy who has a mortgage company... I know his pain points. I know what he needs. He strongly disagrees. He wants to do something, what he's been doing (just more of it and for less money).

    I can help him with that... but I don't think he'll achieve his stated goals... though it might get him a 10-20% extra business.

    So, yes, it helps if you know all you can know ahead of time. But they still have to want it. And, if they have 10 pain points but only want to work on 3 of them? How do you know which 3 without a bit of consulting?
    Sure, you may not know which 3 he wants to work on until you talk to him. My point is that you won't get in to see many large prospects without coming in with knowledge you've gained from lots of homework.

    To your question of what do you do if they don't want to work on changes you are recommending: I let it go. When I was younger I would try harder to get them to see my vision. Now that I am 93-years-old next month, I realize my time is better spent finding people that want to improve and grow.

    Another option is to introduce change gradually. See if they will accept a small change in one area they wouldn't consider before. Over time they may get used to it and accept more change.

    As Ben Feldman would say, don't back them in a corner. Always lead. Humor is part of my shtick, so if I knew them well, I might say, "Hey, Jim, what's your deal? I'm trying to make you rich, and you want to stay in the early 1960s. Where is your vote for Nixon button?" If you are working hard to help them, and they like you, don't be afraid to call them out. But don't force them. (And be careful with humor. Just sayin'.)
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    • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
      Originally Posted by joe golfer View Post

      Now that I am 93-years-old next month,
      Holy crap!!! Is that for real or are you making a joke?
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      • Profile picture of the author joe golfer
        Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

        Holy crap!!! Is that for real or are you making a joke?
        No lie man, here I am back in the day. I made so many cold calls on this phone, my dial finger is 2 inches shorter than the others.


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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
      Originally Posted by joe golfer View Post

      Sure, you may not know which 3 he wants to work on until you talk to him. My point is that you won't get in to see many large prospects without coming in with knowledge you've gained from lots of homework.

      To your question of what do you do if they don't want to work on changes you are recommending: I let it go. When I was younger I would try harder to get them to see my vision. Now that I am 93-years-old next month, I realize my time is better spent finding people that want to improve and grow.

      Another option is to introduce change gradually. See if they will accept a small change in one area they wouldn't consider before. Over time they may get used to it and accept more change.

      As Ben Feldman would say, don't back them in a corner. Always lead. Humor is part of my shtick, so if I knew them well, I might say, "Hey, Jim, what's your deal? I'm trying to make you rich, and you want to stay in the early 1960s. Where is your vote for Nixon button?" If you are working hard to help them, and they like you, don't be afraid to call them out. But don't force them. (And be careful with humor. Just sayin'.)
      Joe, you always bring a smile to my face.
      And your pearls of wisdom - are golden.

      Thank you.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      It seems to me that the two sides are doing the same thing (well, the ones who know what they're doing) but use different words to describe what they're doing and/or emphasize different parts of their process.

      As regards the mortgage broker, he's my brother, 1 year older: he knows everything I know, but better. He was born knowing everything I know, but better.

      Hard to help him.

      Originally Posted by joe golfer View Post

      Sure, you may not know which 3 he wants to work on until you talk to him. My point is that you won't get in to see many large prospects without coming in with knowledge you've gained from lots of homework.

      To your question of what do you do if they don't want to work on changes you are recommending: I let it go. When I was younger I would try harder to get them to see my vision. Now that I am 93-years-old next month, I realize my time is better spent finding people that want to improve and grow.

      Another option is to introduce change gradually. See if they will accept a small change in one area they wouldn't consider before. Over time they may get used to it and accept more change.

      As Ben Feldman would say, don't back them in a corner. Always lead. Humor is part of my shtick, so if I knew them well, I might say, "Hey, Jim, what's your deal? I'm trying to make you rich, and you want to stay in the early 1960s. Where is your vote for Nixon button?" If you are working hard to help them, and they like you, don't be afraid to call them out. But don't force them. (And be careful with humor. Just sayin'.)
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    • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
      Originally Posted by joe golfer View Post

      Sure, you may not know which 3 he wants to work on until you talk to him. My point is that you won't get in to see many large prospects without coming in with knowledge you've gained from lots of homework.

      To your question of what do you do if they don't want to work on changes you are recommending: I let it go. When I was younger I would try harder to get them to see my vision. Now that I am 93-years-old next month, I realize my time is better spent finding people that want to improve and grow.

      Another option is to introduce change gradually. See if they will accept a small change in one area they wouldn't consider before. Over time they may get used to it and accept more change.

      As Ben Feldman would say, don't back them in a corner. Always lead. Humor is part of my shtick, so if I knew them well, I might say, "Hey, Jim, what's your deal? I'm trying to make you rich, and you want to stay in the early 1960s. Where is your vote for Nixon button?" If you are working hard to help them, and they like you, don't be afraid to call them out. But don't force them. (And be careful with humor. Just sayin'.)
      Learning from your niche will give you the typical problems that you can solve for those prospects. Then you can lead with those in your marketing or prospecting, and sort In or Out by those who acknowldege having those issues and those who do not. Once you ID those key problems though, the majority of businesses in that niche DO have them. I'm sure you've seen me recommend niching down and doing this process in many previous posts.

      Most people, however, never take the week or two to begin badly, prospect, and find out those reasons (people will just tell them to you if you talk to enough of them in the niche).

      However, walking in and going BAM! "I have the solution!" when you have not confirmed that they have the problem is going to lead to presenting to unqualified prospects. And doing that leads to wasting your time. Talking to people who don't have the budget or need for your services. Or buyers using you for a free education, and then disappearing to find what you offer at the lowest price--now that they no longer need you.

      You can use these typical problems effectively to start conversations. Then the prospect can begin sharing with you some of the truth of what's going on in their world. Some trust is the only way you're going to be able to sell today.

      Let me show you something. I study sales for a living. A company called CSO Insights just released their 2014 sales performance optimization report. Their top five barriers to sales are listed as:
      1. "salespeople aren’t getting enough qualified leads,
      2. are having significant difficulty in effectively conducting needs analysis to qualify opportunities,
      3. are not able to effectively identify and access decision makers,
      4. are struggling with competitive differentiation,
      5. in a sales cycle that has lengthened, with more decision-makers involved."

      What do these barriers, which are actually symptoms of problems, actually reveal the problems salespeople have are?
      1. salespeople don't know how to prospect
      2. salespeople don't know how to qualify
      3. salespeople don't know how to reach decision makers
      4. salespeople don't know how to start conversations effectively, or position themselves
      5. salespeople don't know how to identify all the stakeholders in a decsion, the buyer's decision making process, and/or meet the individual needs of the key decision maker plus all the stakeholders.

      What a surprise, these are the very things I've been saying for years that salespeople don't know how to do.

      If you (that's a 'general' you, not a 'specific' you directed at anyone in particular) barged in and succeeded in selling with some kind of presentation, my experience and the evidence tells me that you succeeded by accidentally matching up what you offer with their problem. Unless you know exactly why they hired you, you don't know why at all. That's a plus for getting in the game and getting in front of people, but it isn't the most effective use of your time, is it.
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      • Profile picture of the author xsintrick
        @Jason, I think you have some valid points if you employ a "shotgun" approach. I think the other side of the equation is using a "Sniper" approach, research, track, target, execute!

        Both will work, I prefer to use the tools available and discern what is the best approach/solution to offer. Prospects now want help from someone who knows more, or at the very least the same as they do, and can offer insight and guidance. Ex: SEO company calls me and they don't rank 1st page that is the end of the conversation.
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    • Profile picture of the author misterme
      Originally Posted by joe golfer View Post

      When I was younger I would try harder to get them to see my vision. Now that I am 93-years-old next month, I realize my time is better spent finding people that want to improve and grow.
      Damn. That's the wisdom attained by the age of 93? That's it? That's all there is????

      Either I don't have anything left to live for or you're a slow learner.
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      • Profile picture of the author joe golfer
        Originally Posted by misterme View Post

        Damn. That's the wisdom attained by the age of 93? That's it? That's all there is????

        Either I don't have anything left to live for or you're a slow learner.
        I'm a slow learner.

        Heck, I lost my virginity at 47, and that was only because she didn't want to drive home in a snowstorm.
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  • Profile picture of the author FrankRumbauskas
    The ticket to landing whales is to partner with traditional advertising agencies. Don't even bother trying to prospect for them on your own. Why do that when an ad agency will do the hard work and simply cut you a check every month?

    Plus the odds are WAY against you, I particularly like the study from the MBA school at the University of North Carolina - they found that over 80% of decision makers will not take sales calls, period, and only do business by trusted referral.
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by FrankRumbauskas View Post

      The ticket to landing whales is to partner with traditional advertising agencies. Don't even bother trying to prospect for them on your own. Why do that when an ad agency will do the hard work and simply cut you a check every month?

      Plus the odds are WAY against you, I particularly like the study from the MBA school at the University of North Carolina - they found that over 80% of decision makers will not take sales calls, period, and only do business by trusted referral.
      Frank, we must be too dumb because we never read that study and got Puma and 10 #1 consumer retail brands as clients.

      No referral. Never heard of us. No website.

      Now the keep calling my company to buy.

      Got to the decision makers on the phone.

      Best,
      Ewen
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