When it’s Time to Swing for the Fence.

Swing for the Fence

You’ve cold called.  You’ve left notes.  You’ve left voicemails. 

The buyer won’t call back.  She’s shutting you down.

In fact, it’s very likely she never even let you start up.

I’m going to let you in on a secret.

The buyer does this because she HAS TO DO THIS.

She does not have time to allow every salesperson that walks in the door to conduct a presentation.   Besides, she can tell from the get-go that most of them are a waste of time.

It is far less painful to let a potentially great salesperson go unmet, than the agony of sitting through countless terrible sales pitches.  After a while its easy to believe all salespeople are terrible…

So if you can’t even get a call back, think about working on your voicemail message.  Figure out how to improve the way you write notes.  Think about all the ways you could present a more compelling value proposition.  (Start by never using the actual phrase “value proposition” in front of a customer.)

After you’ve done all that, you’re still going to come up short much of the time.  Welcome to sales.

So when you’ve come to the point where you’re ready to walk away from a viable looking prospect, you have one play left: swinging for the fence.

Before we discuss the big swing, let me say, if you have a proven sales process, I would advise you follow that from start to finish.  You don’t take the swing on call #1-3.  You have to prove your persistence to some people.

Playing the numbers game with the best possible technique is surely your best bet to win on the macro scale….but when you get to the end of the rope…you might as well take one last mighty swing.

What have you got to lose?  A sale you didn’t have in the first place?

So here’s how to do it:

Be creative.

What are all the ways you can really blow someone’s mind?  Brainstorm with your friends and colleagues.  Everyone has great stories.  One of my mentors told me a story of a day several years ago he got a large box in the mail at the office.  Inside the box was a helium balloon.  Attached to the helium ballon was a string tied to an envelope.  Inside the envelope he found a resume.

Do you think that applicant got an interview?  You bet.  What can you do that is extraordinary?

When you find out what that is, do it, and then write a note that says, “Imagine the lengths I’ll go for you when you actually pay me! 🙂 ”

Be clever.

I was talking about this very topic with one of my team members in just the last 2 weeks. We had brainstormed a few options he could try if he had someone on the phone and they were shutting him down.   Lo and behold the opportunity arose in less than a fortnight.

He calls me back last week to tell me a story where he had a chance to swing.

As he recounted his conversation with the buyer he hit me with one of the greatest lines I’ve ever heard.

The buyer was telling my salesman how he was all set, he has a supplier, etc.

My salesman comes back with this:

Sales: “Do you like football?”

Buyer: “Yeah…why?”

Sales: “Because you’re letting the Russell Wilson of packaging walk out of your life.  Big mistake.  Don’t pass me over man!”

Buyer: *Laughing*  “Oh man….you’re good.”

Sales: “Seriously though…You need to meet with me.  Give me 15 minutes.”

The buyer took the meeting.  The part that makes me laugh is that the reason he took the meeting had nothing to do with our company’s capabilities, my guy’s product knowledge….nothing.  He took the meeting because my guy made him laugh and THINK…which is something most salespeople fail to do.

Figure out how to hit them from left field, then tie your hit back into the reason they need to meet.

Be genuine.

If you truly believe that you are the best, and your company is the best, then you owe it to people to tell them that…but if they don’t FEEL your belief, its going to fall flat.

Sometimes you can just tell, they love their current vendor and there is practically nothing that can be done to sway them away, even after you’ve attempted to build a relationship, prove your consistency, ability to follow up, etc.

If you can sense a real loyalty in that person, look them in the eye and say:

“I’ll make you a deal.  I want to learn how to do my job better.   I’ll be on my way, but I’d like you to tell me what that person does that you appreciate.  What makes you so loyal?”

This approach has a twofold benefit:

1.) 95% of the time they will tell you what it is…and its usually pretty good stuff.  Stuff you need to take to heart.   You’ll learn what matters to your target market…so that’s helpful.

2.) Do you know how many salespeople ask this question?  I’ll bet its less than 5%.   It makes you stand out….and if you end up choosing to disengage, at least you’re somewhat memorable.

When you get the answer, hand them your card and say:

“It sounds like he’s doing a great job.  If that ever changes, you’re going to be glad you held on to this card.  Please call me.”

Too many salespeople let their sales approach fizzle out.   They just disappear.  

Don’t be that person.  Let the buyer know you cared enough about their business to try one final time to hook them up with the best vendor in town.

At the very least, you’ll create some entertaining stories.

Do you have a great swing for the fence story?  I’d love to hear it.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.