This is a true story.
I once got a multi-million dollar deal going with Microsoft with a simple cold call.
I was selling for a software company some years ago (in the 90s), and Microsoft was one of the juiciest untapped prospects for me in my territory.
They were not a customer of mine, nor had they ever done business with my company.
And top-dog companies like Microsoft are wanted as flagship accounts by everyone. Everyone wants such an account because of the PR value and bragging rights that go along with the relationship.
I wanted a Microsoft deal too.
But you couldn’t just pickup the phone and "call to the top", and expect to get through to Bill Gates, or Steve Ballmer, or some other c-level exec (like some sales trainer yahoos will tell you).
In fact Microsoft has long had heavy defensive gatekeepers screening all the calls coming in to the company.
If you don’t know who you are calling, if you call up asking to speak to the person in charge of xyz department or job function, you are going to run into a brick wall of resistance.
Of course I tried anyway, that’s how I found out how just difficult it was to get inside of Microsoft (I figured I had nothing to lose following the yahoos advice).
One day I was networking with a sales rep from another company, one who sold complementary software products into the some of the same customers as I did. I found out that they had a business relationship with Microsoft, and she knew who all the decision-makers were, and she also knew their phone numbers!
So I told her asked her who to call, and she gave me a name and a number.
I was psyched!
Now I had someone to call – I just needed a reason to call them.
I thought that I might have a reason, because the person I wanted to call was in charge of building software for Microsoft employees to use. And I sold accounting software for company employees to use, and we were making our accounting software with the same tools that Microsoft was using to make their other employee focused software systems.
THAT was my hook. This was potentially important to Microsoft because there wasn’t really any other company making accounting software at this time using these tools. So I had the potential to save Microsoft a lot of software development effort (which meant saving mega-bux to them).
Armed with this knowledge, I made my cold call to the IT Applications Development Director.
I got voicemail.
So I left a message.
A very focused voicemail message.
I told him how we were using the same tools to build our software as he was, and that we should talk because there was potential major savings for him and Microsoft.
I got a call-back directly from the director within a day.
And this eventually turned into a multi-million dollar deal for my company.
This guy called me back for one reason and one reason only. I had the potential to save him from building his own accounting applications, which meant he could use his talented software developers on other more important projects.
In other words, he had an untapped potential pain that I could (potentially) solve.
I didn’t give him sixteen reasons why my company was great. I just focused on one thing that I suspected he would really care about.
Most sales are driven by one major customer issue. Discover what that is, and you have the key to make the sale or walk away with the conviction that you are doing the right thing.
Sell with Pride,
Shameless Shamus Brown
P.S. Discover how quickly you can get to the core driving issues that cause your prospects to buy with the Persuasive Selling Skills Audio Program. It’s NOT as simple as just asking lots of open-ended question or bantering in small-talk. These strategies really work to speed up your sales.