It's not unusual for government sales clients to ask why their cold calling initiatives aren't working. It's pretty simple. Cold calling is a waste of time when trying to sell local, state or federal government. We've been at this a while and after selling millions and millions to government at all levels and winning numerous government contracts, not one single contract ever resulted from cold calling.
It's a tough pill for some clients to swallow when cold calling was part of how they did it when they were working in the business-to-business world. They'll say, "OK, if not with cold calling, how do we get government prospects?"
The answer is to get them to call you! Put yourself in a position to help prospects understand how valuable and trustworthy you can be as a remedy to their pain. Let's break that down:
Put yourself in a position: This phrase means that you make sure that prospects know who you are and what you do. Whether a company or an individual, you must research, market and build your brand.
...to help prospects understand: This may seem the same as the first phrase, but it's not. Just because they know who you are and what you do, they won't necessarily seek you out. That is, until you've established an understanding of the problem they're trying to solve. Then, you can begin to synchronize your solution to their problem. (That's "begin to synchronize" because of the ongoing quest to listen very carefully and gather the right information.)
...how valuable and trustworthy: Throughout the process, you must make it clear that your primary interest is helping them. You must be consistently honest, sometimes blunt, even when you have something to say they don't want to hear. Otherwise, you won't be trusted...and most people in a position to influence a government procurement are pretty danged stingy with their trust. In our study several years ago, we found a common trait of top government sales performers was their true belief that the client's interest is first, and that they weren't afraid to disagree with a prospect or say no. Read more about "saying no" here.
...you can be: Go into a potential government sales situation with a bit of skepticism that you'll be able to help the prospect. You're primarily interested in helping them solve a problem, right? Whether you can really do that, you won't know until they've shared their goals, objectives, obstacles, alternative solutions, purchasing process, on and on (all things that will help you make a government sale).
...as a remedy to their pain. No pain; no gain, as people like to say (for a totally different reason). If you don't really understand the pain your government prospect is trying to get rid of, you won't gain the government sale. (Get it?) Very few government purchases are made without someone experiencing pain somewhere. And, until you find it, you won't be able to help.
Getting good government prospects to call you, rather than you calling them, is a lot of work. There are many things required, many of which we talk about in our Myths of Selling to Government podcast, our blog and social posts. We provide a lot of valuable content (so we've been told) and do so with our listeners' and readers' best interests in mind. We would love your feedback or ideas on areas you would like to learn more about.
Want to learn more about how to get government sales prospects to call YOU?
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