Last week, I conducted a very informal survey on the biggest challenges in B2B sales now. Acquiring meetings topped the list. There are many reasons your dream client might reject your request for a meeting. Here are some of the most common reasons and some ways to do better at acquiring the commitment for time.
You Aren’t Pursuing Them
If you call your dream client once, only to disappear for an extended period (like 90 days), you don’t provide them with any reason to meet with you. The contact you are calling has heard your name once, and by the time you make a second attempt, they will have long forgotten your last call or voicemail message.
Sporadic efforts at prospecting produce poor results. You need to think in terms of pursuit plans or campaigns. Your approach should be one of professional persistence, the kind that eventually causes your contact to accept your request for a meeting. Your dream client needs to feel you are pursuing a relationship with them and their company.
You Asked Over Email
There may not be any way to make it easier to reject your request for a meeting than to send the request in an email. You have no idea whether or not your client deleted your email. By trying the “pen pal” approach to selling, sending email after email, repeating yourself, and making sure you remind your contact that they have ignored your request before, you radically limit your effectiveness.
Your contact may have concerns about giving you their time, something you might believe is an objection. Still, because you aren’t using a medium in which you can resolve their concern and ask again, your request is rejected because you have no way of making a case for the meeting.
You Only Asked Once
If you have only ever asked your dream client for a meeting once, you should not expect a definite answer. The first no your contact gives you is free; everyone gets that no. You have to earn the second no by asking again. Whether it’s your first ask on a call or your fifth ask in a professional pursuit plan, the answer is always no until it is yes.
You will almost always have to ask more than once. Who you get a yes to your first request, accept it as a gift from the gods of prospecting, smiling on you because you have put in the effort to prospect consistently. Know these gifts are rare.
You Accepted a No
The word your dream client uses to reject your request for a meeting may not sound like a no. The words may sound positive, even promising, creating a sense of hope.
Your contact may ask you to email them information, promising you that they’d like to learn more. They don’t want an email from you, nor do they want your information.
The person you reach may ask you to try them again later in the day, the week, the month, the next quarter, or at the start of the New Year or the first morning after a harvest moon. Your contact will not be expecting your call when you make your next attempt. They believed you were smart enough to know they were blowing you off, and they hoped you would go away like so many of your sisters and brothers.
A positive-sounding no is still a no. If you are going to argue for a meeting, you should do it right then and there, promising not to waste the dream client’s time.
You Sound Like the Salespeople Before You
The words you use to ask for a meeting project something about you. Your contacts have taken a lot of phone calls from salespeople over the years, and many have disappointed them. When you offer to tell them about your company and your solutions, you remind your contacts of the worst salespeople they agreed to meet with, the ones who were unable to make good use of their time.
Every few months, a hotel chain calls me to “award me a free four-night trip” to some fabulous destination. As soon as I hear the words, I am confident the person is inviting me to sit through a pitch for a timeshare, something that has zero interest to me.
The level of difficulty in gaining a meeting increases if your pitch for a meeting reminds them of their unsatisfactory experiences with salespeople who wasted their time.
You Didn’t Trade Enough Value
The one thing you can do to increase the number of people willing to agree to meet with you is to improve the meeting’s value proposition. That’s right; your meeting needs a value proposition. You need to let your dream client know what they will get out of the meeting, so they don’t try to get out of the meeting.
The better the value of the meeting, the higher your chances of obtaining the commitment for time. If what you offer sparks their interest or makes your contact curious about what you might share with them, the more enticing your value proposition will be.
When you offer something of interest to your dream client, you flip a no to a yes. There are a lot of reasons your contacts reject your request for a meeting, most of which you can avoid if you do the work to become a value creator instead of a time-waster.
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