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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

A Great Sales Story: Getting the First Appointment


After a workshop I was leading about earning a first appointment with prospects, one of the folks in attendance shared an incredible success story with me.

His name is Ross Libby and as a mid-level sales executive he has already made waves at digital media companies in Arizona, Michigan and New York. The details of this story are 100% true, but to protect certain parties, names of the various companies have been changed.

I am thankful that I met Ross, as, he seems like the kind of salesperson that gives salespeople a great name. Ross began by telling me all about the company where he worked and the story behind their amazing product. He shared with me how he identified his prospects. Allow me to now turn the story over to Ross….

So, when I was prospecting who would best fit our offering, XYZ Company in LA was the Golden Goose. They are one of the most aggressive spenders in the category and they were experiencing brand PR frenzy.

I made it a point that I had to get in front of them because I knew we could help with their current goals in a big way. I spent 10 minutes every day making contact, rotating between calling one day and emailing the next. I did this for about three months, speaking with everyone on the team that I could. Until finally, I set the meeting with the entire team—including the main decision maker, John Doe.

John fell in love with what we were doing, and was going send us an RFP in the coming month. Unfortunately, he ended up leaving and moving to another state. There was a whole reorganization of the team, and I had to start the process all over again.

I went about the same process, and it got me nowhere. I knew everyone on the team, and their roles, but had yet to make contact. So, I decided to think outside the box.

I sent the new decision maker, Jane Smith, a prepaid cell phone with my number programmed in it, and attached a sticky note that said "I know you are very busy ciphering through a thousand emails. When you have a sec, push 1 and send to get back to me. Thanks, Ross."

Jane emailed me back saying "Amazing! You have my attention. What’s up?"

Long story short, my company has run dozens of campaigns with XYZ, and they are arguably the company’s best client—both from a revenue and performance stand point!

The moral of this story is more than just “don’t give up.” It’s about making sure you are spending time on the right prospects, and that you have a plan for how you will earn their attention, and that you know what you need to do in order to stand out professionally. Of course, it’s also a reminder that when we do have the right prospect, and a good solid plan, that we need to remember to not give up. 

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Topics: Sales