B2B sales continues to regress as many leaders value efficiency above all else. For these leaders, they believe that they need more. activity, more calls, more opportunities, and most of all, more emails. There is, however, one area where they do less: targeting their prospective clients.
It’s odd to see someone who loves efficiency and also sends tens of thousands of emails to a list of people based on their titles alone. Most all these emails will find their way to the spam folder or be deleted. Despite this, leaders who are driven by efficiency believe that having a list of people they’ve spammed is the same as having a pipeline full of opportunities.
Yesterday, a salesperson sent me a second email after I told him I have no use for what he sells. I am pro-salesperson, so I reply, even though it takes time. But after a second attempt or an automated follow-up, I block the salesperson.
A young salesperson asked me why I called out of a phone book. I answered that it was where the phone numbers were. I called through the letter M before I had over 100 prospective clients. If the client wasn’t already buying what I sold, I moved on. To be efficient, the last thing on earth you would spend time on is people who don’t buy what you sell.
When I built a sales force, some sales reps would complain that every prospective client they called already had a supplier. Believing there must be a better way, they suggested that we call people without a provider and explain why they should buy what we sold. They were disappointed when I explained that people who don’t buy what we sell aren’t good prospects. Good prospects buy what we sell.
The Importance of the Displacement Sale
The ease of reaching thousands of contacts with no real effort has caused many sales leaders to use this approach, describing it as efficiency. But when most people receiving the email delete it, the waste is far greater than the tiny number of people who open, read, or respond to the email.
You are not likely to displace your competitor with an email. Many of these sales leaders would be better served by adopting a competitive displacement strategy. The cult of efficiency believes this strategy is too difficult and takes too long to execute, but if you compare the time to remove and replace your competitor is far less than waiting for the contacts they bludgeon with too many emails to engage with a salesperson.
Here is the truth for those who can handle it: You have a better chance of winning a client that buys what you sell than one that doesn’t buy what you sell. A client buying what you sell is evidence that they need what you sell. While calling through the phone book, I asked the contact if they used what I sold. A no answer would eliminate that company and allow me to move on. Contacting 100 companies that bought what I sold was enough for me to generate $4.8 million in net new revenue, with most coming from three giant companies.
Emails to Non-Buyers Is Waste
More activity on non-buyers is a waste of time. Your time is better spent on people who need and value what you sell. Those who profess that efficiency is how to improve sales results are guilty of doing the exact opposite of what they profess. More emails do nothing to cause someone to need what you sell.
Additional emails, especially the follow-up email that includes the prior email, or worse, an email with four previous emails pasted below it. This is a blatant attempt to bully, badger, and pressure to force a communication. So much for professional selling and say goodbye to an other-oriented approach or a buyer-centric sales approach.
Force is the strategy of the weaker party. The fragility of the sales force that can’t book a meeting because they are spending time with non-buyers. But without targeting people who buy what you sell, you are wasting time, attention, and energy on people that have no need for what you sell.
The Value of 60 Dream Clients
In Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition, you will find a prospecting sequence to communicate to all 60 dream clients every month. By building a list of strategic targets who will benefit from what you sell and how you help your clients, you can play the long game of displacing your rivals and eating their lunch.
It takes time to book meetings and win the client’s business, but it is worth the effort, as these clients tend to be much larger than an average deal. Once you win a client, you can retain and grow the client while building a portfolio of highly desirable clients. When you look at the most successful salespeople, it will be rare that you see them practicing a spray and pray sales approach due to its inefficiency. Instead, you’ll find them carefully choosing who they will and won’t spend time with.
One additional benefit of this approach is that every company you pursue buys what you sell, and they are already more than qualified.
Sell To People Who Buy What You Sell
To improve your sales results, hit your targets, and reach your sales goals, don’t waste time on companies that don’t buy what you sell. Call on the companies and contacts that care about what you sell because it is important to their results.
There are always some percentages of companies open to making a change. Incumbents often become apathetic, entitled, and believing their contract will protect them from being displaced.
You can always spend time with companies and contacts who might need what you sell, but these deals can often take more time, simply because it isn’t something they are already buying.