03 June, 2011 11:32
... and one that just might work...
So either you're incredibly fortunate, or you've been stalking the CEO of your biggest prospect and just "happen" to bump into him at his favorite lunchtime restaurant or the lobby of his building.
What do you say? Most of the typical salesman "pickup lines" not only won't work, but will virtually guarantee you'll never get an audience with the big dog in the future...
PICKUP LINE: "I was just reading an interesting article about your industry this morning in USA Today..."
CEO RESPONSE: "Was that before or after you checked your horoscope?"
First of all, surely you understand that nothing you read in a rag like USA Today is really "NEW"s, don't you? By the time it is deemed suitable for general consumption by the American masses, anything that you read in a general interest newspaper has been stripped of any real relevance to a cutting edge business executive. It's guaranteed to be a superficial and mutated retread of previously available info that may or may not have been relevant in the first place. By quoting these sort of sources, you damage your own credibility, confirming that you don't have executive-level judgment to evaluate the quality of information from which you are drawing conclusions.
One possible exception: TODAY's edition of the Wall Street Journal. In fact, I do expect that if anything particularly impactful for my company or industry has happened in the last 24-72 hours, you're going to know about it and adjust your presentation accordingly. If it's at the top of my mind, it better be at the top of yours.
PICKUP LINE: "For over 40 years, our company, SelfLove Corp. has..."
CEO RESPONSE: "So why haven't you gotten it right yet? Otherwise, you'd already have my business."
I truly couldn't care less about how long you've been in business. I don't care how financially successful you are, how many patents you hold, how much market share you have, how many employees you have or where your offices are. I want to know what you can do for me ... that I care about.
Which reminds me. Just so you know, it is not the least bit impressive to me that you know how to use your latest Marketing Department-approved "branded" presentation template featuring your company's logo prominently on every page. Frankly, I know who you are-- I don't even need to see your company's NAME on the presentation until you get into the specifics of the solution you've designed specifically for me. IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU. Talk about me.
PICKUP LINE: "Let me start by asking a few questions..."
CEO RESPONSE: "So you haven't done your homework and still have questions? My admin can refer you to the appropriate contacts to help resolve your ignorance before I waste any more of my time educating you."
And for Pete's sake, please don't ask me "what keeps me up at night," or "wouldn't I like to increase my business." I've read Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In and SPIN Selling and the rest and I'm not here to provide you with an opportunity to practice your "sales" skills.
Don't try to be a smart-aleck by proving you already know more about my company and industry than I do (you don't), but do give me a sense that you're already moderately up to speed on the issues I'm dealing with and that it's worth the 15 minutes I'm willing to give you to listen to your pitch.
Want to hear a pickup line that at least has a CHANCE of getting a date? Something like this:
PICKUP LINE: "I was talking to Bill Grower, the controller of your parts division, and he mentioned that after looking at the details that came out this week in House Bill 1052.6, the proposed government bailout of your biggest competitor, TooBig, Inc., there may be unique opportunities to actually take advantage of the new restrictions in the bill to provide shorter delivery times to TooBig's nervous customers-- along the lines you already identified as a major objective in your last quarterly earnings conference call. Bill and I have discussed a way to cut three days from you standard delivery times resulting in an increase of 3% in your ASP and 12% increase in inventory turns resulting in an additional $18M in top line sales over a 12 month period while decreasing operating overhead (another of your priorities according to the latest annual report) by 680K."
CEO RESPONSE: "Uh, really? How do you figure that?"
So, he's a little chatty-- at lease he sounds like he knows what he's talking about. Not sure there's really any "meat" there, but for $18M revenue, better margins and a chance to kick TooBig while they're down, I''ll give him 15 minutes of my time.
"Call my admin and say that I'd like to schedule 15 minutes with you, Bill Grower, and "Speedy" Shippman, the Operations Manager for next Tuesday sometime after 2:00pm."
So how do you use that 15 minutes? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free copy of a 15 Minute Executive Sales Presentation Template.
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