Professional Prospecting VS Crazy Prospect Behavior

Maybe you’ve seen it in a few movies. Camera’s on some slick salesman heading to a penthouse building to meet the client that could change his career. The next thing you know, said client turns out to be one of those eccentric billionaires who lived in a regular apartment across the street and Mr. Slick got the address wrong.

Twists like that are far closer to reality than some think. Look at Warren Buffett preference for Coke and Dairy Queen or Pope Francis riding a bus instead of the papal limousine.

For those in the middle of prospecting for business, you need to be prepared for when a prospect behaves in ways you might find ‘crazy.’ (And maybe in the end, you might learn they’re not so crazy after all.)

Back then, a lot of managers and department heads looked down on things like social media and smartphones as gimmicky. Fast forward in just two years and a lot of business strategies are incorporating the same ‘gimmicky’ channels and devices for more serious initiatives (e.g. expanding market share, more sophisticated client feedback, better R&D). There are a lot of things that are happening in the business world that don’t exactly fit the term ‘standard procedure.’ But if you’re not ready to deal with this procedure getting thrown off more frequently, you risk closing yourself off to a lot of prospects.

  • Some prospects could be in the middle of a management experiment – Say you’re making a quick telemarketing call but you hear your prospect panting a little bit, as they’re running. Guess what? You’ve called the right number. They’re just trying out a new thing called a treadmill desk. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? No? Well then, you’d best get used to it because they’re not the only ones. This points to a greater to need to expect a lot of unusual experimentation on the part of management. Don’t be afraid to prospect even while they’re doing so but do avoid assuming the worst.
  • Other prospects could have history with a peculiar practice – Don’t older brands have their own big traditions? Ideally, these traditions have a purpose. Sometimes it hearkens back to the days of the company’s founding. Other times it embodies the sum of an organization’s collection of values and vision. All in all, what might seem an odd practice could be something with historical basis for those who with more intimate knowledge of a company.
  • They could just have something going on – Here’s another common plot point you find in some movies. Whether it’s through some moral epiphany, personal romance, or even psychotic episode, the once professional character suddenly bails out of work to the bewilderment of his/her colleagues. But from the audience’s perspective, they’ve seen everything add up. But in real life, you don’t have that same privilege. Give your prospects the benefit of the doubt.

There are a lot of things prospects can do that seem a little crazy or a bit out there. But you know, maybe it’s so much as they’re insane.

It could also be because they’re just regular human beings. Like you.

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