Daily, I get inundated with emails, texts, social media messages:

  • “I’d love to learn more about your business and hiring needs….”
  • “Let me know how I can help you…”
  • “Can we collaborate in some way? We provide…….”
  • “How are things going for you?” (WTF!)
  • “How has business been for you during Covid? Are you staying busy?”
  • “Who schedules your calls?”
  • “I’m wondering if you need….”
  • “Are you interested in…..Book a meeting with me….”
  • “Can you share your challenges and priorities? You can schedule a meeting with me on ….”
  • “Are you looking for wins…..” (I responded that our win rate was far too high and I was actually looking for losses, sorry….”
  • “I’m sure you get a lot of sales pitches….I’d love to learn more about what you do….”
  • “I thought I’d reach out to introduce myself and learn more about you and your company…..”
  • “Any thoughts on the email below…..”
  • “Did you get my last email…..”
  • “Who in your company makes these decisions…….”

I could go on and on with these. Many are from people working with well established companies. But there’s a huge problem with all of them. They put the onus on me to figure out if I can get value, whether it’s worth my time to respond or do something. They make it my responsibility to educate them, so they can figure out how to sell me something.

That’s not my job! It’s not my job to educate sales people on the issues that I face in growing the company. It’s not my job to teach them about my business. It’s not my job to help them figure out how to get on my calendar or how/who they should be selling to

I’m interested in someone that brings me new ideas, that helps me think about my customers/markets/business differently. I’m interested in someone that has a point of view—it’s not that I need to agree with their point of view, but it helps me learn and think differently.

It’s stunning that so many trying to prospect customers put the onus on the customer to do all the heavy lifting in starting the relationship.

There is no excuse for not doing your homework! Here some things I, as a prospect, hold sales people accountable for:

  1. Focus on your ICP!!! Don’t waste the time of people and organizations outside your ICP, you can’t help them!
  2. Make sure you know something about your ICP–what is the structure of the market? What are the key business drivers? What are the key challenges, opportunities, problems?
  3. Think about how you can create interest in having the prospect talk to you. Have you seen something happening in the markets that might be interesting to the prospect? Is there some business/market issue in which you have a point of view that may be interesting? What might the prospect learn? What might be interesting to them?
  4. Do your homework on the company and individual you are trying to reach. There is no excuse for not knowing something about them. This shouldn’t take more than about 15 minutes. If you are calling within your ICP, you know what to look for on their website. You can quickly look at their LinkedIn profile and get some perspective on who they are and what they are interested in.
  5. Have something to talk about, have something they might be interested in learning. Take charge of how you might teach them something new.
  6. Make it effortless for them to talk and learn with you!

Customers are too busy to do the work you should be doing. It’s a waste of their time. Find something that’s useful to the customer. Do the work for and with them.