To win your dream client, you will need patience and persistence. The most desirable clients have not been waiting for you to show up in their world, as they have signed a contract with one of your many competitors.
Those who lack the intestinal fortitude to play the long game will complain about all the prospective clients that already have a supplier in place. Instead of competing for the business, they move downstream to find an easier client to win. Moving downstream means winning a client that is less desirable than your dream client.
Patience in B2B Sales
It might take you three quarters to acquire a first meeting. That is a relatively short time. It might also take you seven years before a decision maker agrees to meet with you, which is a long time to wait. When pursuing large clients, you may have to wait longer than what seems reasonable.
Understand that your clients worry about making a change that may cause them to fail. Often, the devil the client knows seems safer than the new devil, which is you, your company, and your solution. Then, there is the period when you and your client must learn how to produce the better results the client needs. This is why, before considering what is a significant change and taking the risk of failure, large clients work with their existing supplier.
In Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition, you will find a chapter that provides you with a way to manage sixty dream clients and a modern sales approach to communicating with them. The number sixty is not arbitrary, as this allows you to contact three dream clients each day, touching every one of the sixty strategic targets every month, without being a nuisance. This only works when you can create value for your contact. It also provides you time to work on other leads and companies you are responsible for winning.
You will find this approach won’t be attractive to poseurs who are impatient and always seeking an easier and faster way to win a client, even though it might take all of 15 minutes each day to pursue a client unlikely to change soon. Their lack of patience prevents them from winning enterprise-level clients.
The Nature of Competitive Displacements
The nature of competition requires the salesperson to remove their competitor and replace them. Accomplishing this feat means capturing their mindshare, changing how they think about the results they need. It’s helpful when your competitor is complacent, entitled, apathetic, lacks real communication, is resentful, or has failed to address needs and changes they have avoided for too long.
Because you have no idea when your dream client is experiencing problems, you must be patient and persistent.
Professional Persistence in B2B Sales
Many sales reps give up too soon, discouraged by clients who ignore their cold outreach, not recognizing that it creates no value for the client. Nor does it establish the salesperson as an expert and authority. What follows may hurt, but it must be said: No decision maker or buyer is interested in an average salesperson or one with a legacy approach that doesn’t prove the client would be safer with this salesperson and their company.
Many salespeople mistakenly use a brute force approach to cold outreach, alienating the client and proving they are self-oriented. Sales reps who use this approach call and email day after day, like toddlers asking for a cookie.
To win your dream client, you will need a patient, persistent, professional, personalized pursuit plan, one that will take time. No matter if your prospective client rejects your attempt to book a meeting, or even if they suggest they are thrilled with their current partner, nothing they say should discourage you.
The Iron Law of Displacement
There is an iron law of sales that should compel you to persist: Given a long enough timeline, every one of the sixty dream clients you pursue will change their existing supplier. Some will change in the next quarter, while others will change three years from now. Without persistence, you can miss the opportunity.
I called on 14 contacts at Victoria’s Secret for more than two years. After every call, I sent the contact a thank-you card and my business card. One day, my phone rang, and I was asked to meet with their team. They had a serious problem, and 48 hours later we had displaced our competitors.
Mastering Patience and Persistence for Effective Competitive Displacement
If you will succeed in B2B sales, you will need to develop patience and persistence. You will need these success character traits to pursue your dream clients. These traits are critical regarding competitive displacements.
The most patient salesperson is most likely to acquire a meeting and, eventually, win their dream clients. It is easy to give up, and many of your competitors will do just that, giving up on the client and on themselves.
You can create a certain type of trust through your patience and persistence, and by continually communicating in a way that proves you can help the client improve their results. You also create trust by being professionally persistent, proving you have an extreme other orientation. I took seven years to win PetSmart, even though my peers thought my effort was a waste of time.
You want to be careful not to communicate too often and to make certain that what you say is valuable to your contacts. You make this easier when the content you share is about your client. This is how you position yourself as a potential new supplier, one that can improve their results and remove your competitor.
Leaving this post, list your 60 dream clients and your communication strategy to capture their attention. Then consider the prospective clients you have given up on too soon. Let your patience and persistence do the work of staying top of mind until you create and win your dream client’s business.
Pick up Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition for a master class in stealing clients.