A major success factor in sales and BD is showing up! In order to show up at a client’s office, and have them welcome you, it requires you to reach out and make contact.
Simply put, you will not get an appointment for each request, however, I can guarantee with absolute certainty that you will get NO invitation to meet if you don’t “call” = phone, email or text. (The exception is if you have a product or service that everyone needs and they can’t get it anywhere else. Don’t get too excited though because once you have serious competition you’ll be back to calling them.)
You have two key motivators for the call:
1) Personal – relationship building, maintenance and reinforcement
2) Business – introduction of a new product or service, conduct a needs assessment for requirements or changes, a business review, etc.
Be strategic in a personal meeting to build a stronger connection and bond with your clients. Ask questions about their personal life, family, hobbies and interests to find things you have in common.
But even in a personal call, you will still discuss business and opportunities at some point – usually towards the end to set-up a future meeting for a product demonstration or to conduct a needs analysis. You must move to business otherwise the client will wonder why you took 2 hours out of their day, and yours, and paid for lunch if the discussion does not get to business at some point. Worse yet, you will be viewed as a professional visitor or time waster.
Calling to set up a business meeting should be straight forward. You must have an important reason to ask them to give up time to meet you e.g. there is a pending price increase and you want them to be able buy in advance to save money and purchase future inventory; you have identified potential cost and time saving opportunities, and productivity improvement situations; you are introducing a new or upgraded version of the equipment or systems they buy from you.
Here’s a great one to lead into a conversation. “Bill, I’m calling to arrange a meeting to discuss some ideas I have that will allow you reduce costs / make more money / increase efficiency, etc. with our products or services. Many of my clients that are using the new product/service have realized a minimum 20% improvement by implementing my recommendations. When do you have an hour to meet over the next week?”
Here’s a Wayne Gretzky saying that applies to sales – “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Same goes for calls you don’t make – who can you call today?