About three times a week, I get an e-mail like this, paraphrased:
My name is <insert name> and I’m with <insert company>. We are a leading provider of <insert technology services>.
Can we meet for a short introductory meeting, so that I can learn more about your organization’s upcoming initiatives regarding <insert technology services>?
I look forward to meeting you soon,
Here are the problems with this approach:
First, I am really busy. I barely have enough time for the people who rely on me. Honestly, I don’t have any spare time to give away. (On the other hand, I need more time. If you can give me more time, then I’ll almost certainly buy your product.)
Second, why would I want to teach you about my organization’s upcoming plans? Gee…I’m giving up a lot of value here…my precious time plus competitive information…why?
Now, I can hear the salesperson’s response: I need you to tell me your plans, so I can help you achieve your goals. Sure, but that’s rather presumptuous. I never asked for your help.
So, Mr. or Ms. Salesperson, if you want to get some traction with me, then instead of starting the conversation out with an ask, start with a give.
Start by offering something of value. It doesn’t have to be a lot—perhaps some real information about the problems your product or service solves, some real data from another customer’s experience, maybe even the offer of a free trial.
Then, let me decide if that will help me achieve my goals.