We were trying to pitch to a big potential customer. I had identified the person I needed to speak to, in order to at least make a pitch. I had cold-called her many times, left her a lot of voicemails. Eventually managed to speak to her on a handful of occasions.
She was friendly but very non-committal, and obviously took a lot of calls. She agreed to be on our email list, but I could see that she wasn’t reading anything we sent her.
We attended a large annual conference and trade show frequented by most of the industry. Instead of having a stand inside the exhibition, we took a small suite in the hotel next door, which was a popular meeting place for the conference attendees, and invited prospects to meet us in this suite rather than the conference area as it was much quieter and you could have a proper conversation. (It was also much cheaper!)
Obviously, I had invited this person along and had even managed to set a date when she said she would arrive, at the end of the day. She was a little late but she did turn up with her boss, who was another one of the decision makers we would need on board.
They started by being quite reserved and looked quite flustered as we ushered them into the suite and got them some coffee. We took it very easy and just spoke about them and their background, their experiences, etc. It was a nice relaxed conversation with a few jokes and a friendly tone.
Eventually, they started to open up and told us that the day had been a complete nightmare for them, as they had gone from one hard sales pitch to another. We were the only people who had treated them like human beings. Even though we were well over our allotted time with them, they stayed and talked through some of our offerings. Then they invited me to their offices after the show to meet the senior executive who looked after the business unit.
Our approach meant we went on to have an amazing relationship with them and they became one of our best customers. So treat people as human – it goes a long way.
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