I went to France several years ago and, as an arrogant American, I bought the plastic French phrase booklet at the airport so that I could communicate with the Parisians. On our first night, my family and I went out for dinner, and when the waiter approached and said, “bonjour,” I quickly pulled out my booklet and started talking very loudly in English (with a French accent) trying to add some words from the booklet. Yes, I was that person, but hey, at least I was trying to speak French. The waiter was a good sport — he tried to walk me through the phrases on how to order successfully in French because he appreciated that I was at least trying to speak in his language.
This always reminds me of the vertical approach to prospecting for the business technology community. We all know that some French waiters aren’t too fond of Americans, but they may dislike us a little less when we at least try to speak in their language. Since speaking French to the French makes them like you more, trust you more, and meet with you more often, why not take that same approach to your prospecting? Speaking in the language of your customer, consistently, makes more net new meetings happen that land more proposals and closes.
Every time a business technology sales executive begins their research on approaching a prospect, there are several questions they should ask themselves as they plan their vertical prospecting approach.
1. Why would the prospect want to meet with me?
2. How does this industry make money?
3. What are the names of the knowledge-based data and documents associated with this vertical that they print, fax, archive, scan, present, and retrieve?
4. What are the compliance requirements for this industry that we can assist with?
Let’s take healthcare as a vertical to focus on first:
Q: Why would they want to meet with me?
A: A healthcare facility, medical practice, urgent care, or hospital system would want to meet with you because of your experience working with their industry colleagues.
This is where client reference power numbers become impactful. For example, saying, “We work with several other medical practices,” does not have the same impact as, “We partner with 146 other prominent medical practices throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area like (insert 2-3 client references).”
Utilizing a real number as well as one or two client references that are the same size as the vertical prospect you’re going after creates credibility. Your vertical prospect will want to meet with you because you’ve successfully worked with other businesses in the same industry to drive up their profitability, compliance, efficiency, and cybersecurity.
Q: How does this industry make money?
A: A healthcare practice makes money by driving additional profitability into every patient visit. They also want to reduce the claim adjudication process (which is the process of getting paid by the insurance companies) and if you can tie the money to technology innovation and digitization, it is a very easy conversation to have. Digitizing the medical claims form, including such solutions as autofill software, reduces mistakes, and then it takes much less time to get the claim to the medical claim forms company, and then on to the insurance company to be paid faster. That’s a win for everyone, and business technology solutions tie into those results.
Q: What are the names of the knowledge-based data and documents that healthcare practices print, fax, archive, scan, present, and retrieve?
A: When you look at all the names or data that a health care facility prints, you’re looking at information like accounts receivable spreadsheets, examination forms, insurance forms, outpatient or home instructions, patient records, records labels, staff schedules, copies of insurance cards and copies of driver licenses, to name a few.
When you mention the actual documents or data that the vertical utilizes you’re speaking in their language, and they can’t tell you they’re not interested, because you’re mentioning their specific information and work processes. A medical practice never needs to buy a copier, but they may need to make copies of their staff schedules or the insurance cards. They don’t need to buy a scanner, but they need to be able to scan medical records or explanations of benefits. By utilizing the names of the data, you’re speaking French to the Frenchman.
Q: What are the compliance requirements for this industry that we can assist with?
A: Compliance continues to be one of the best opportunities for stating our case as to why a prospect should look at their network, cybersecurity protocols, document management, or solutions. For example, within healthcare, there are compliance stipulations including HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and EHR (electronic health records). These compliances require patient records to be kept secure and in an electronic version — which is right in our wheelhouse. When you put it all together in a pitch and you speak in their language, you’re much more apt to get a yes to a net new meeting.
Here’s a great pitch for a hospital you can use:
I am writing/calling to be of service to (insert prospect’s company name). We partner with over (insert client reference power number) other healthcare CIOs in (insert location) like (insert 2-3 client references). They have shared with us that because of our partnership, their healthcare data can be created, copied, and modified faster than ever before including reducing the claim adjudication process timeline.
I would like to schedule a collaborative conversation to share this and an additional strategy that can reduce the administrative task time of new patient demo intake in your pre-admission process or emergency services departments — all the way through to the discharge or transfer planning paperwork that must be completed honoring both HIPAA and EHR. Virtually all the paperwork that administrators, leaders, staff, and doctors must successfully interact with can be better controlled and secured and more cost-effectively reproduced.
I welcome the opportunity to share how other forward-thinking healthcare CIOs and materials management directors are utilizing the strategies and solutions here at (insert your dealership’s name) to revolutionize the administration and documentation of patient care. Would Tuesday the 15th at 9:45 am work in your calendar?
Another great vertical for the business technology sales executive to focus on is the legal industry. Although this happens to be one of the hardest industries to make meetings with (because they’re solicited so often), there is a constant and ongoing need for technology innovation, digitization, cybersecurity, network support, and hardware, so speaking in their language will always give you a leg up in your prospecting efforts.
Q: Why would a law firm want to meet with you?
A: Law firms are highly competitive, so utilizing your client reference power number to include all the law firms you work with as well as some client references will enhance your chances of getting a yes. They want to know what their legal colleagues are doing successfully today, and how to create a competitive edge utilizing technology as part of that equation every time
Q: How do law firms make money?
A: As I’m sure you are aware, there are many different legal practice areas, and other than personal injury attorneys, they all bill hourly. Their billable hours refer to time worked on a business matter that will be charged to a client according to a contractual rate. Billable hours in the context of legal representation are often charged in tenths of an hour, and what’s exciting is that every touchpoint of a legal document now has a billable component, so every time they print or scan or archive or access a document, they can charge for it. That is one way our industry is helping to increase their revenue, except for personal injury firms, as they don’t bill hourly.
When approaching a personal injury law firm, you can address “the money” by sharing that your dealership works with these types of law firms in their pursuit of evaluating, taking on, and winning more cases more profitably through business technology innovation strategies.
If you tie the money to technology acquisition, it’s a lot easier sale, and that’s why I always put that in my prospecting pitch — because it will immediately be more attractive to the prospect. When you say it in their language, they’ll understand you quicker and be more apt to meet with you.
Q: What are the names of the knowledge-based data and documents that law firms print, fax, archive, scan, present, and retrieve?
A: Law firms use technology when filing with courts, redaction, responding to interrogatories, Bates stamping, and compliant case archival and retrieval. Examples of documents include briefs, contracts, doc review, motions, legal guidelines, corporate/courtroom presentations, docket calendars, and responses to interrogatories.
Law firms must contend with Sarbanes-Oxley, which requires them to archive case content from last date of service to the client for at least seven years. They do not have to keep their records archived in hard copy, but they must be able to be replicated in hardcopy, and document management can accomplish that.
Here’s a good pitch that you can use for law firms. As you review it, you can see that all of the questions are being answered in the pitch.
This is (insert your name) from (insert your dealership name). I am calling/writing to schedule a non-client meeting with you because I represent several law firms, like (insert two or three client references), assisting them in increasing billable hours and allowing them more time to take on more clients/cases. We have been instrumental in assisting our legal clients in improving the digital communication with the courts, bettering collaborative efforts with clients, and opposing counsels, and creating a more effective way to distribute, access, and compliantly archive their legal matter.
I was sure that the firm would want to know what your colleagues are doing to increase internal office efficiency/billable hours/relieve IT resources/ add revenue sources and create a more competitive edge through technology strategies. As a legal office technology specialist here at (insert your dealership name), I can be that resource for you and that’s why I wanted to meet with you. How would (insert date and time) work into your calendar?
Another great vertical to focus on is 501(c)(3) nonprofits. When building your prospecting pitch for this vertical and answering your vertical preplan questions, understand that:
• The fund development plan is the way that the executive director finds all the money for the nonprofit to pay their operating expenses (which includes their technology spend)
• Many board meetings may continue to have remote collaboration
• Compliance for nonprofits, including form 990 from the IRS, requires a robust archive of documentation around financial actions for the nonprofit.
The nonprofit vertical pitch becomes easy to create.
I am writing/calling to schedule a meeting with you. My firm partners with over (insert client power number) other charitable nonprofits to assist in the execution of their fund development plan, internally produce high color presentations for their board meetings, and accomplish their document retention compliance procedures for form 990, all by making technology process changes. That is why I wanted to meet with (insert name of their nonprofit).
In 2022, prospecting must deliver impact because every dealership must focus on increasing their profitable market share. If we expect our prospect to meet with us, investigate change possibilities, and then implement a new technology partnership and we want to be that partner, then we must speak in the language of their business model, understand, and know how to help them meet their compliance, cybersecurity, remote accessibility, efficiency, and profitability goals. If we can focus on their vertical and we speak “French to the Frenchman,” we’ll make more meetings and make more money!
Kate Kingston, founder & President of the Kingston Training Group, is a motivational sales trainer specializing in making more qualified meetings with C-Level executives. With over 18 years of success in making appointments with decision makers, Kate is a sales-driven, energized communicator and a recognized authority on lead generation, new business development.