Objective of initial contact isn’t to sell. It’s this one job

The objective of the initial contact is not to sell. That may come as a shock to many sales people. The purpose of the initial call on the prospect could be one of three things: get a contact, get an appointment or fact-find. Note it is just ONE. Now let is look at each of these.  

Get a contact

Now then. You are at a cocktail party or some social event. You see a prospect. Just like your objective of  contact with a girl you are interested in is to get her number, the objective of sales contact is to get the prospect’s, er, contact. For whatever reason, going beyond that tends to backfire on the salesperson. Whether it is because the prospect feels harassed, or it goes against the norms of social interaction, or whether it’s because the setting is not for it, I don’t know. What I do know is this: don’t complicate t; don’t mess it up.

It’s one job you have. Do it right. Just get the contact, save it on your phone while he watches (to show how serious you are with it), and then immediately change the subject to discuss the weather, politics, the industry, kids, anything of general and common interest. Just not business. You can follow-up the following day or week. And when you do, if it’s not to connect with him on LinkedIn (one job), or thank him for the time shared (one job), then you have one job – to get an appointment.

Objective of initial contact

Get an appointment

Again, this is not a sales pitch. Save the spiel for when the time is ripe. For now, the primary call objective is to get an appointment. For example, “Hi Kageche. We met last week at (place). It was great hearing your perspectives on parenting (or whatever it is you connected with and will trigger his memory).  I’d like us to have a chat and see if there are any points of synergy we can mutually benefit from.  Looking at what you do, I think there might be but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Let me know if this Thursday at 11am is ok with you, or is next week Monday same time better? In person at your office or a Zoom call; either is ok with me.  Let me know.” Resist the urge to attach your brochure, or marketing merchandise or anything that smacks of a sale. The objective of this initial contact is to get an appointment. That’s it. In any case he can read about you from your website or the all-encompassing Internet.

Fact-finding can be the objective of initial sales contact

Besides the examples of sales call objectives aforementioned a third objective of initial sales contact is to seek to understand the prospect. Again, it is not to sell. Seek to understand before being understood. One job.  A successful sales presentation should include starting with intimately understanding the prospects current situation, his pain points and what he seeks to achieve. Is it safety in the warehouse, establishing your credibility to buy land for him while he is in the diaspora, or is it to help him formulate his problem as he is not particularly sure what it is? Whatever the case, listen, understand, mutually identify points of synergy, allay fears, then and only then, do you try and zoom in and focus your pitch to address his pain. This is now your new one job.

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