One of the common complaints I hear from people involved with approaching prospects is that they have tried to approach a particular person but are unable to get the chance to speak to them.
Maybe it’s not the response that is the problem but your stimulus!
If you adopt a standard approach you will generate a standard response.
I suggest that you try to identify the personal and business hot buttons of the prospect. This will allow you to construct an approach relevant to the prospect that increases the chances of getting them to engage with you.
The Business Angle
From a business point of view, whilst newspaper articles and the internet give great information, it’s the same information available to everyone else. My tip is that there is nothing better than experiencing the brand for gathering pertinent information and identifying hot buttons
For example, if I was approaching a car company, I would take a trip to the local dealership, talk to the sales team about their issues, look at what models are coming out, find out who they are targeting and look at what approach is being used in advertising and promotions.
The Personal Angle
From a personal point of view, I would map out (on paper) all potential links into that company, for example:
- Do I know anyone who works there?
- If not, do I know anyone who knows someone who works there?
- Do any of the players at my sports club work there (check email lists)?
- Do I know anyone who works at their advertising or PR agency?
- If not, do I know anyone who works in advertising or PR that may know someone who works at their agencies etc etc.
- Plus I would undertake more traditional desk research such as an internet search
From my contacts, I would want to identify the decision makers, their role, their history, their interests, whether they prefer football or the arts? Which team? What performer? Do they have kids? How old are the kids? etc etc
Tailor Your Approach
The more information you can find on business and personal hot buttons the more you can tailor an approach to a particular prospect that is likely to cut through and receive a positive reaction
The information can be used either to invite the person to an event that they are interested in (so they are more likely to respond to your invitation) or invite them and their children to an event the children are interested in (happy kid, happy parent!)
Or the information can be used in an initial letter, phone call or a more creative approach where you:
- attract their attention
- give them a brief outline of how you can help them
- show your credibility through how you have assisted others
So do the research and preparation and turn your approach from cold to hot!