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RAB Research Archive

The Hanging Chad…

Imagine if your doctor started sending you weekly emails for treatments they have available at discount. “Buy an MRI and get a CAT scan for free, this week only.” Absurd, right? In the medical profession, there is a saying: “Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.”

Frequent readers might remember the story of Chad, the door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman, whose prospecting methods and approach sucked. (Vacuum – suck – see what I did there?) Chad is back, and if you can believe it, he’s gotten even worse.

Over the past three weeks, I’ve received a series of emails from Chad, about one a week. Each of these emails has an attachment with the latest package deal they have on their products and encouragement to buy. I recognize that with gas shortages and high prices, it may be more economical to send out emails. But sending “package of the week” emails to people who have demonstrated no interest is not efficient, effective or professional. On top of that, Chad ignores the privacy and confidentiality of his prospect list by copying over 50 people on the email. He didn’t use BCC (blind carbon copy), leaving all the email addresses of his prospective clients right there for everyone to see.

From our RAB training, Chad is demonstrating product peddling behavior, and he’s not even good at that. Once again, we find ourselves with an easy sales tip – DON’T BE CHAD.

Prospecting is tough enough. Don’t make it worse for everyone else by doing what Chad does. Here are five tips to keep in mind as you prospect and/or try to sell your inventory.

1. Packages should only be sold when they are tied to a client's need. Often, we publish packages to meet our needs of selling remaining inventory, sports packages, programming packages, etc. There is nothing wrong with packaging your inventory in unique and creative ways. We recommend, however, that you only present those packages to clients with whom you have conducted a Customer Needs Analysis and identified a need that the package could satisfy.

2. When emailing more than one client at the same time, use BCC and send the email to yourself. Clients don’t want their email addresses shared with everyone. It’s a privacy and respect issue. Besides that, do you want your clients knowing who your prospects and other clients are? Don’t you deserve that privacy too?

3. If you’re going to be consistent in your email marketing, choose something of value, rather than constantly trying to sell. If Chad were to send me information about new vacuum technology, or cleaning tips, that might be somewhat appealing and interesting. A constant barrage of sales pitches by email is not.

4. Sending these packages to clients and prospects sends the message you’re only interested in the sale and aren’t interested in listening and taking time to understand their challenges and help. They need help more than ever.

5. Have a Valid Business Reason (VBR) before contacting clients and prospects.

At RAB, we teach VBR. This means having a Valid Business Reason to contact a client or prospect. A package is not a VBR. The VBR cannot be about you, your stations or hour products. A VBR is always about something going on in the client’s business. Example for a restaurant: “It seems everywhere I go these days I’m seeing help wanted signs, and particularly in restaurants and the service business. How are you maintaining staffing levels for your business?” That’s a Valid Business Reason to contact them and to set up an appointment to learn more about their staffing issue and present solutions to their problems.

Professional prospecting requires professional behavior and technique. Please don’t be Chad.

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB