Sales people love to ask the question, “Have you heard of us?” when speaking with new prospects. The fantasy is that the prospect is going to say, “No, never heard of you, but I have loads of time so please tell me everything….” And of course, that hardly ever happens.
Sales people sometimes tell me that they ask this question in order to incite curiosity on the part of the prospect and thus more easily enable a conversation. And of course, that hardly ever happens either.
Unfortunately, more often than not, this question backfires. Instead of enabling a conversation it puts the questioner in a hole that they now have to climb out of.
There are really only two possible scenarios in response to the “Have you heard of us?” question:
1.) The prospect has heard of your company and already has a preconceived opinion about the company and your offering. This puts you in a difficult position if that preconceived opinion is negative. (“I know your company – we had a really bad experience with you…” or ”I’ve heard of your company – you’re too expensive…” or ”I’ve heard of your company – your customer service is awful…” Etc.)
2.) The prospect has never heard of your company and you have just wasted valuable time that you might have instead used to say something compelling about the value that you represent. It’s all too easy for a prospect to say in response to the “Have you heard of us?” question, “No, I’m busy, what do you want?” This also puts you in a difficult position.
Your best bet for a successful prospecting introduction is to focus on the value that you represent and simply say what you have to say. If you have a compelling introduction, it will not matter that your prospect has not heard of your company. If you do not have a compelling introduction, asking, “Have you heard of us?” will not help you.