Work with the Willing

 

It’s a familiar scenario: your sales and marketing team got together and strategized all the best traits of the ideal customer. They updated all the messaging and marketing support materials to attract this perfect prospect. Upper management agreed that, yes, this is the customer we want and need.

Next, you gathered your sales team and got them on board with the ideal customer profile, and then sent them out into the world to find this elusive prospect. After a few weeks, some sales opportunities came back with a potential ideal customer who was mildly interested in your offerings.  However, there was also a prospect who was a less-than-perfect fit but expressed a lot of interest.

Your team is very busy and only has time to focus on developing one of these prospects. Did they choose the right one?

Your direction to the team was to bring in the ideal customer, because if the ideal customer fits exactly with your capabilities, then surely, he or she would buy from you, and all would be right with the world.

However, it’s been my experience that enthusiasm and eagerness to do business should trump actual fit. Both factors matter, but customers that show initial eagerness, even if they don’t appear to be a perfect fit, are more likely to become buyers and long-term customers, compared to a perfect match with only a slight interest.

Other sales tactics to consider:

  • The speed of your response will be a critical factor in your ability to achieve success with any prospect. Don’t wait for days to prepare the most beautifully crafted response. A quick response is best—even if it’s to let your prospect know you’re researching the question and will follow up soon. 
  • Do not worry about who you speak with at the prospect business. Many salespeople look down on leads when the contact is a junior or mid-level person and not the ultimate decision maker. I have found that often the junior person has been tasked by the executive to get the ball rolling. If you can win them over, they can become your champion. 

Ultimately, your ideal customer is the one that fits your operational capability and is willing to work with you.

Chad Simkins is director of sales and marketing, Guardian Glass Fabrication. He can be reached at csimkins@guardian.com

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