“Can you help me?”
It’s a great technique.
It’s a horrible technique.
The difference is, with the right person, at the right time, it can be an extremely productive question. And that right person is anyone other than your decision maker.
With decision makers, asking that question at the beginning of a call–namely an initial call–creates resistance. And deservedly so.
First, more on when and why it’s good:
Before speaking with a buyer, you must seek, find, and use info about the organization, person, decision-making process, what they buy or use now, and anything else relevant. You use this information to customize your openings, voice mail, and questions. This helps you to not sound like the 20 other sales reps who called before you, and will call after you.
When you combine this information with what you have and can get online and from other sources your strategy and message is targeted and tailored, unlike the numbers game, smilin’n'dialin, throw-it-up-against the wall callers hoping to be in the right place at the right time.
Ask for help at all levels before getting to the buyer. And justify your reason. After introducing yourself and organization, say,
“I hope you can help me. I want to be sure that what I have would be of interest to Ms. Bigg …”
Why It’s a Bad Technique With Decision Makers
Let’s first take a look at it in action:
Decision Maker: (interrupted from whatever he’s doing, which is most likely NOT staring at the phone waiting for a sales call). “Pat Kelly here.”
Caller: “Hi Pat, Dale Dufus with Ace Services. Can you help me?”
Decision Maker: (Wondering, “Who IS this person and what does he want? Probably a salesperson.”) “What do you need?”
Caller: (combining this technique with the inane question I reviewed last week.) “Yes, I was wondering, are you the person there responsible for the secure storage of your paper records?”
Now, what has happened here?
The caller just wasted about 15 seconds, causing the decision maker to suspect it’s probably someone calling to sell something, then confirming it. The negative momentum is like a freight train rolling downhill.
And, by the way, their job is not to help YOU! How arrogant is that!?
YOUR job is to help them! And you need to be able to quickly communicate how you might be able to that, before they have had a chance to move into “Get rid of salesperson” mode.
Unless you’re calling for a charity, don’t call to ask for the decision maker’s help. Pique their interest quickly, and move them to the questioning phase of the call.
If you’d like to see and hear how to get more of that intelligence that will make your calls relevant, and how to plug it into a proven prospecting approach, Get the details on Sam Ricther’s and Art Sobczak’s webinar, “Know More” Cold Calling -How to Find and Use Information to Make Successful Smart Prospecting Calls.