I recently attended your L.A. workshop. When I got back to my office, I had an interesting response email from the CFO of a very large corporation that I've been trying to get to see. The CFO politely (and conversationally) said he:
• Appreciated my sales letter.
• Was very happy with his present supplier with whom he has a multi-year contract.
• Had a bad experience with our parent company five years ago.
Then he concluded that he would be happy to "talk to me" anytime." Now what do I do? Invest hours researching the other vendor's fees, benchmarking programs and more so I can show him why he should do business with us again? HELP!
Jill says ...
This is an interesting situation you're facing. First of all, CFOs virtually never meet with people unless there are some issues with their current provider. So, even though he says all is well, I suspect it isn't. And, I suspect that he could try other resources besides his "contracted" one, if he chose.
That being said, I would try to learn some about the other vendor he's using, but wouldn't stress too much over it. It's likely a pretty standard pricing, etc.
Instead, I would try to figure out what business problems the CFO may be facing with his current provider. What are the common problems? Inability to get their arms around the costs? Lack of controls? Spiral service costs?
Then take a look at the new services your own firm has introduced in the past few months. What business problems were they designed to solve? What objectives do they better enable your clients to achieve? Does your competitor offer these capabilities? If not, what might your prospect be struggling with?
When you meet with or talk to a CFO, focus on these higher level business issues, not pricing. Perhaps you can suggest a meeting to discuss, "how they're currently managing their ----- budget during a time when costs are skyrocketing." Then when you meet, focus on the management issues that a CFO is concerned about. Find out where his greatest challenges are.
Do NOT propose a solution on the call. Suggest you come back again in a few weeks after you've analyzed things and have some ideas. Stretch it out; develop a relationship based on being an idea person who can help him achieve his business goals.
Also, re: problems with your parent company in the past. Get it out upfront. Apologize; share what's different today and move on. Don’t get hung up there. Obviously he isn't if he's willing to see you.
Readers – Can you offer any additional suggestions?