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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Six Ways to Help You Get That First B2B Sales Appointment

sales strategyGetting that first b2b sales appointment can be one of the most difficult steps in the entire sales process. Having a referral or industry success story can make this task a little easier (so, use them if you have them!). But, what do you use if you don’t have either at your disposal? 

If you’ve made several attempts to get in the door without success, you may need to beef up your valid business reason.

For a strong valid business reason, you need something that is both relevant and timely in the eyes of your prospect. Why should they want to meet with you, now… and not the other way around? 

Here are six things to consider:

1. Their website:
    • Look for any current or upcoming initiatives that you could help enhance.
    • What about sponsorships/charities they’re involved with? Can you help with anything on a local level?
2. Industry news: 
    • What’s going on in their industry right now that may be a significant challenge for them? How might you help with this? If you don’t know off the top of your head, do a quick Google search for recent news in the category. 
    • Check out our Marketing Mind Blog for recent news and trends.
    • Industry websites – check or subscribe to stay up to date with how your prospect’s industry is doing (example: automotivenews.com; progressivegrocer.com, C Store News).
    • Competitive gains – Has a competitor of theirs done something that will potentially affect your prospect’s business?
3. Consumer behavior trends:
    • Think about their target consumer. Are there any recent trends that could be affecting the way they may purchase their product/service?
    • Start broad if you’re not sure of their exact target. Think generational trends: millenials, seniors, boomers, etc. (Millenials are using banks very differently from their predecessors!)
4. Social media:
    • Think beyond their Facebook page (although be sure to check it out to see any initiatives and how they’re interacting with their consumers). 
    • Use LinkedIn to not only connect with the potential decision maker, but to join groups relevant to that industry. Pay attention to discussions among the group. Ask questions if you have any – their answers may help you get in the door with your prospect!
5. Timing:
    • Is there a seasonality of their product or service? For example, if they’re about to enter slow season, how might you help them increase sales and stay top of mind?
    • Use Google alertsSet up a Google alert so you receive a daily/weekly update every time your prospect shows up in the news. Check frequently for needs analysis opportunities. There may be something in the future, if not now.
6. Research Data:
    • Secondary research – Have you come across any recent research studies involving their industry? What about the insights might they find insightful?
    • Qualitative research – Perhaps your company subscribes to a qualitative research source. Make sure you check to see if their product or service is available in the report (or better yet, the company itself.) Either way, run a report to reveal demographics and psychographics of the heavy user. Share it with your prospect.  

You can see that when it comes to crafting a strong valid business reason, you’ve got plenty of options (and these are just a few!). The key is to remember to check various sources, as information can vary at any point in time and relevancy is key. Since it usually takes several points of contact to secure that first meeting, having several valid business reasons for the same prospect (or category of prospects) and using them throughout can be a good idea. Combining several sources can also be very effective. (An industry trend combined with a success story on your end, or a new research study.) 

Remember, no matter what source you use for your valid business reason, make sure it answers the question, “Why should they want to meet with me, now?” Because, if you can’t answer that… what makes you think they will be able to?

Approaching sales in the same way you always have is not going to work moving forward. Click below to receive a detailed plan of approach that will get you from initial contact to a successful first call.

Topics: business development Needs Analysis Sales