Managing a potential customers expectations is only important if you want to make more than a single sale. Buyers beware. The company that promises more than you have a reasonable right to expect might not be looking at anything more than this month’s revenue.
The biggest problem with managing expectations with integrity is that it will easily and often cost you the business, when a realistic expectation is not what your prospect is willing to hear. The painful part is that money from companies with head-in-the sand expectations goes just as far to pay the bills.
Do you have any idea just how much it hurts when a sales rep is forced to take your lofty expectations and smash them (probably along with the sale) on the jagged rocks of reality? Do you thank them for it? Probably not. In fact, judging from past experience, you probably give your business to the other guys- the ones who told you that “Absolutely. We can do that.” But it didn’t work out that way did it? And now, you’ll just stay away from that type of service because it doesn’t work.
Let me illustrate:
One of our reps recently spoke with a company and here is how it went:
- Prospect – A Director of Sales & Marketing for a small software company
- Target – CEO, CFO, CIO/CTO – Manufacturers
- List – 2,000 names from inbound leads collected within the last two years
- Contact Success – Average of 3 attempts – one voicemail and two email follow ups -without a response
- Campaign Objective – Send one voicemail + email message with a free demo offer to the list to revitalize it with budget of $10.00 per response.
To many, this looks like a reasonable expectation, but it’s not. So, what’s wrong with this picture?
1- For starters, how can you tempt a CEO, a CFO and a CIO to leap from basically no interest to responding to a demo offer with the same message? They are, after all, working with some different priorities. As a starting point you must begin with at least three different message approaches.
2- If the list of 2000 names has been collected at an even rate over the past two years, given that the average rate of decay in a B2B list is at least 2% a month. You can expect that 500 of these records are no longer valid.
3- If the combined cost to reach your list of 2000 contacts is $2/name and you (should) already know that only 1,500 are likely even there to reach, at your budgeted cost per lead of $10.00 you need to get 400 responses. Off a maximum base of 1500 names assuming total delivery that’s a response rate of 26%.
Usually, it is considered that the fault of the numbers lies in the fact that the cost per name is two dollars when the expectation was that it should be around twenty cents, but if you were making those calls with your own sales team, what would they cost you? – Let me give you a hint – @ 50 calls a day that’s 12 weeks of work for one person.
There is a solution, which involves, stripping down the list, focusing on a single audience, building a case over repeated contacts and setting up these prospects to be contacted by a real sales rep to get that demo trial, which is, a significantly higher quality lead than a $10 click-through-to-an-article download.
The sales environment has changed and the smart money is with those who can change their expectations and approaches to match it.