At 5.30 p.m. on Friday while you’re stuck in traffic heading home, I’m just beginning to get in stride. The timing is ideal. Secretaries are gone, and the executives that I want to reach are still at their desks finishing up e-mails to subordinates or calls to the West coast. They even pick up their phones just in case it’s the CEO.
It’s a perfect time for me to catch them at their desks and make my pitch.
“Hi, my name is Hesh. We met last week at the Women in Technology event. Are you available for dinner Saturday night?”
“Who are you?” is the typical bewildered response.
I repeat my line and add the clincher, “Remember? I was the one who commented on your beautiful lavender shoes.”
Long pause. “The guy with the shoe thing,” she says. Great, she remembers me. “So, you’re calling me Friday at 5.45 p.m. for a date tomorrow?”
“Yes,” I respond. “Why not? If you’re available, seize the opportunity. Carpe diem …” Dial tone.
Don’t Try This at Home
Other guys might feel dejected, but not me. I have learned as an experienced sales professional not to take it personally. The odds are with me. I know if I make ten calls, I will score.
Time is money; my computer is already dialing the next number.
My customer relationship management software enters the critical details into my script, and I’m ready for my next call. (I use the same type of software system developed for the most sophisticated call centers in Bombay.)
“Hi, my name is Hesh; we met last week at the Women in Forensic Accounting breakfast. You were the guest speaker and I asked that question about where you bought your lovely earrings. Are you available …” Click.
I didn’t even get to ask the question. Still, I’m not discouraged. I know my system works. I have done my homework. I have pre-qualified my prospects. I have, at a minimum, visually confirmed that each is attractive, professional and single.
How do I know that a prospect is a professional? I attend meetings of every women’s organization in town — and, fortunately, we have a lot: attorneys, accountants, financial advisors and PR types. It’s interesting, and I never get asked why I’m at the event. Either the women are happy to see a guy at their meetings, or they just ignore me.
How do I know that a prospect is single? I used to look for a wedding band. However, I learned the hard way that such data was not always conclusive. I did find a foolproof method. I ask other women at the meeting — they always know.
When I’m successful and a woman wants to see me again, I have a dilemma. Do I continue prospecting? I look at it as any director of sales would.
Enlarging the Customer Base
If I get complacent and think I have enough customers, then before I know it, I’ll be out of business. So, no matter what happens Saturday night, Monday morning I’m back at my desk preparing to make more calls.
Fortunately, my CRM database is very sophisticated, and it can eliminate all prospects that may have a relationship with my “active” account.
A tidbit of wisdom I would pass on to novices using my system: Don’t start your calls until Thursday. I have found that prospects who make commitments early in the week are usually backing out by Friday.
One problem I do face is that my software crashes frequently. It seems many of my previous clients may have hacked into my database and altered their telephone numbers.