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Prospecting: Surgical Approach

Lesson 10 from: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Pitching Clients and Getting Sales

Peter Corbett

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Lesson Info

10. Prospecting: Surgical Approach

Lesson Info

Prospecting: Surgical Approach

We're gonna talk about the surgical approach. You've heard one example of the surgical approach, my anecdote about recording TV and radio advertising in a former life, but I think there is some very obvious surgical approaches that all of us can do today that you may or may not be aware of. I think the first one is very obvious. Who is already connected to you? Like who kinda cares about you as a human, and knows about you, so this is a little video capture of me scrolling down my follower list on Twitter. I do this every once in awhile, I'll look and it's like, 'Who has followed me?' Now mind you, I am engaged, so I'm not looking for who followed me that I might wanna date. I actually admit to having done that before, way, way before. What I'm looking for is who's got marketing in their title, or who's at a company that I possibly wanna work with and if I scroll long enough, you know I find something, and maybe I find that Lauren works in marketing at this specific company, so just on...

e click, scroll down list... Okay works at, oh what's Infodev? Oh, Infodev is a global program at the World Bank and I'm totally passionate about social good. Looks like they support entrepreneurs around the world, why don't I just send a direct message to Lauren, and say "hey, let's chat sometime? Let's get coffee, I love what you're working on." She has already expressed interest in me as a person in the world, so it's not cold call, it's not a cold DM in Twitter, it's a warm lead, a relationship, and I assume if I send her a message she would say "yeah, let's hang out. Love to talk. Let me tell you about what the bank's doing in this regard." So, a lot of different ways that you can do that. This doesn't even include, and I wouldn't even necessarily recommend it, you could do a deep social network analysis to find the VPs of marketing at the biggest brands in Twitter and reach out to them, but that would be cold. They're probably not going to respond. But the people that already follow you or your company are likely to, so if you haven't, everybody please on the internet and here, if you have not looked at who is following your company and who is following you across your social channels, do it now. There is probably gold in there for you, immediately. And you will thank me, send me 10%. I'm kidding, you don't have to do that. And you can obviously do this in other places, you can do this in LinkedIn. So we're just gonna scroll down and I put in the keyword "marketing," so I want to see all of the people that are connected to me in LinkedIn. And I think it's like, there's like 200 people, is it? That are my first connections? Great way to do some surgical prospecting. This one is non-obvious, non-obvious. So, how many of you use Google Analytics? Not most of you? Online? I see, I see you're raising your... I see that you're raising your hands, okay. If you go into Google Analytics, this if my favorite little trick that I dive deep into, you go down, you look on the left hand side, go to audience > technology > network. And what we're looking for is "from which network did someone visit the website?" And the example I've highlighted, someone came from the Sazerac Company. Anyone know Sazerac? Whiskey, love that whiskey. My voice is starting to get a little gravely, let's get some whiskey up here. No paid endorsement for Sazerac. Anyway, so I see that someone from Sazerac came. They spent 27 minutes on IStrategyLabs's website. This is two weeks ago. Now mind you, we've done work with seven liquor brands, three of those were whiskeys. Maybe they were seeing the work that we had done, maybe they want to hire an agency, but I know that Sazerac has come to the website, I know how much time they spent, and now if I really want to, and actually I really would love to work with Sazerac. If I really want to I can call them. I can call the main number, I'll just go "Hey, someone reached out to us on our website." What does "reached out to us" mean? "I don't know, they read some stuff. The visitor website, is there someone on the marketing team I can talk to? I think they were interested in one of the articles about our strategies for marketing whiskey." And maybe I'll get connected, that's a cold call. It's not my style, so I'm probably not going to do that. But I'll give you an example of using this technique that happened years ago, which was really, really terrific. I guess I first started employing this intelligence approach god, six years ago or something like that? And I noticed that someone at Hershey had come to the website, spent about a half hour on it, read like eight or nine articles, a bunch of blog posts, and looked at our services, and this was probably 10 o'clock at night, and I had, like, zero... Negative 200 employees. No, it was just me, and so I didn't sleep. It's really difficult in the early stage, when you have to do everything. So I just spent that night like digging into all of the marketing that Hershey's was doing. Not because I expected to do work with them, it's just, you know, I saw the name and I was like "Okay, cool, I want to see what they're doing." The next day I got a phone call from Hershey's. And they said "oh you know, we're looking for an agency to work on some social media marketing projects and your name came up," and I said "yeah that's really great, and I really love Hershey's, and I think the fact that you guys have been doing all this work with regard to the Hershey kisses and the micro-content and Instagram and Twitter and all the rest..." They're like, "how do you know so much about the marketing that we're doing?" I was like, "I just love Hersheys. I just love it. So I always pay attention to what you guys are doing." So I'd gotten tipped off, my web traffic had tipped me off to a possible opportunity, and then because, just automatically I just dug in, it was beneficial. So I went up to Hersheys, talked to them about all their work, and I don't know. I have a quick question. Yeah. About that prospect. You know, like, you mentioned Hershey, a big brand kind of doing that, but what if you're, you know just a photographer or somebody who's doing a smaller scale thing, and you see an individual kind of reach out, when does it get sort of creepy to say, out to like, an individual, "hey, you there, I saw you were on my site," like do you think that there's a good way to approach that, or is it all fair game? Yeah, so I should be very specific. Google Analytics won't let you know if individuals are visiting, or who they are, because it's going to show up as Verizon, or Time Warner, or Comcast, or Dish, or whatever. Which is sort of frustrating. Cause I want to know, I want to know. There are other tools that you could use, some of you might use, what is it, is it Sidekick? What's the e-mail tracking software? I think it's Sidekick, that you'll know if someone opened your e-mail? And you'll know if they forwarded it? Okay. Which is fascinating. I, personally don't use that, maybe I should. But people use it on me. And I hate it. So, people send me an e-mail, they're trying to pitch me like "Peter, we'd like to do your banking for the company, or we want to be your law firm, or we want to sell you this software," and I'll open the e-mail and forward it to my CMO and say "hey, maybe we should check this out," and then I'll get an e-mail, like, the next day like, "hey so I noticed you were interested in our product, can we talk?" And I'm just like "god I hate you, please, don't, don't do it to me." So I don't really think people want that. I'd much rather use this approach, which just gives you like, a little background heads up/head start, so that if you're a pitching company specifically, you can do your homework so when you do get that opportunity, you're ready. Or, if you want to be more proactive, you can say "I'm a call 'em." Actually, I love whiskey, so I might, after this I'm going to call Sazerac and see if anyone is watching from Sazerac, give me a call. I guess my question is, has that ever backfired, has there ever been a time where you called someone and they were like, "no, we weren't doing anything, you know, like, leave us alone," I could see that maybe coming up if people do get contacted. Well as I said, I don't do cold-calling in this business, so that's not a thing. But I will describe when I was doing a lot of cold-calling at the first agency that I was at years and years ago. I got rejected every single day, brutally. Like, brutalized. And that thickens your skin. If you haven't done it, maybe just try it one day. Just one day. Just be like "I'm just going to reach out to 10 people I don't know and see what happens," and it's going to hurt, it's going to suck, you might actually develop a relationship, you might actually close a deal. But the reason that skin-thickening was crucial was because later on in life, in this business specifically, having all of these pitches that I'm in and not winning them... It doesn't... It doesn't feel as visceral, right? Because it's not like, "why are you calling me, I hate you, you're the worst." It's more like "Thank you for submitting the proposal that we asked you to, and we're not going to hire you." And I'm like, "okay." Thickening the skin is good in the prospecting and sales world, and again, like I said, some people, depending on where you are, you're going to have to do that kind of cold-calling and cold outreach. Hopefully you don't. Hopefully you figure out how to boil the ocean, how to build a barrel, how to do great content marketing to get inbound leads coming to you. That's the ideal way to do it. If you're relying on cold-calling, you're probably screwed. And I'll tell you why. I think it cheapens your services, really. Who's going to think that my company is possibly good enough and doing high enough quality of work, that I've got time to cold-call people? I don't, I don't have the time. Because we're so damn busy doing all the work. And people know that. Hottest shops in the planet. Actually, we say no to probably, I would say six or seven out of 10 new potential clients that come our way. And from the very beginning I decided that we would say no, because I think that saying no, you become just as much what you say no to, as what you say yes to. And so, I was like "I want to say no all of the things that we don't think are quite right. I will trust that if I say no to a $1,000 project," which there are plenty of $1,000 projects in that first year, "that leaves me open for the $2,000 one next week with a better client." I have to be brave enough to say no. And so we do. And we say no all day, every day. And I feel it's probably because we are busy enough. I mean, if we weren't, we'd probably be saying yes. And we'd be probably saying yes to things that maybe we shouldn't be saying yes to. And that's always a tension. I'll tell you, there's been times in the company, we've been very fortunate that revenue has always grown, it doesn't dip, it doesn't go negative from a profitability point of view typically, we've never had a lay off. And there were times when I would see like, "oh man, is that going to start happening? Hey guys, we've got this inbound inquiry, this company looks like we would probably never want to work with them, but look at the money, should we do it?" And we often, it's called white-knuckling, we're like "no, let's hold on and not take it." And that's always been the right decision. I think we've let a couple project in that we probably shouldn't have, cause we felt like we really, really had to take it, and those were always bad decisions. And you always have to remember that. Always remind yourself. Be like, "should we take this? Last time we did, it was a bad idea. It's probably a bad idea again. Let's not do this to ourselves, right?"

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Concepting Proposal Template
Independent Contractor Services Agreement Template
Mutual NDA Template
Sample Prospect-Deal Tracker.xlsx

Ratings and Reviews

Bonnie Aunchman

Peter & Creativelive - I loved, loved this class! I would HIGHLY recommend. The class is extremely informative in content and has great document samples you can use. I will implement Peter's advice and practices immediately! (Loved Peter's teaching style!) Thank you! :)

a Creativelive Student

I had the great privilege of being in the studio audience for this class and had a phenomenal experience. Peter shared not only great insights and experience but templates that I've already started implementing in my own business. His experience and approach towards working with clients really resonated with me and my business partners. I specifically encourage you to find the section and write down word for word what he says when a client says "well, I don't know what our budget is, we want you to tell us". I've already used his approach of responding with "oh, it's a million dollars :-)!" and using that to open the conversation. It get's results and the answers you need to put together an aligned proposal. On being an audience member the staff at CreativeLive was kind, clear with instructions and made sure we always knew what was expected of us. I encourage you to apply for a class and experience it first hand. As a bonus, their office and catering was phenomenal.

Che Pilling

Peter Corbett is a very clever man, I appreciate his honesty and creative thinking. This course is amazing for people who are in a process of setting up different areas of their business. I can also see how it would benefit business owners/managers who want to review their processes. Corbett is a very engaging speaker and his communication is excellent. Fabulous course, A+.

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