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Sales Prospecting Offers: 6 Proven Approaches for Generating Meetings

blog author
Written by Mike Schultz
President, RAIN Group

Value is at the center of all sales activities, including prospecting.

Often, discussions with our clients about buyers value focus on the reasons that buyers ultimately buy from you, using the 4 Whys:

  • Why act?
  • Why now?
  • Why us?
  • Why trust?

Watch this video for a refresher.

If you want to impress buyers from the start and generate meetings from your sales prospecting efforts, you still need to answer the same questions, but not for "why buy," but why agree to a meeting with you.

Here are six strategies that do just that.

6 Tested and Proven Sales Prospecting Offers

There are six tested and proven approaches to sales prospecting outreach that intrigue buyers and open the door for sales discussions. For each offer, we provide an example of an outreach email and point out where the 4 Whys appear in the messaging.

Note: It typically takes multiple touches using these value offers to generate meetings. The examples here are included to show you how you might use the offer in one of your touches. It's a best practice also to deliver the message over the phone, LinkedIn, and other emails all as a part of a well planned and executed attraction campaign. Read more: 4 Essential Elements of a Winning Prospecting Strategy.

Offer 1: New Ideas

Sellers who drive value for buyers in the form of insights and ideas achieve greater success than those who don't. Our research has confirmed this time and again.

Even now, during COVID, 64% of buyers tell us that a seller's ability to educate with new ideas and perspectives highly influences their purchase decision (learn the top factors that influence buyer's decisions in our Virtual Selling Skills & Challenges report).

With the new ideas offer, your goal is to both introduce and begin a discussion on an idea. Here's an example of a seller using this approach based on something specific in the buyer's annual report:


Your priority to attract top millennial talent [Why Act] jumped out at me in Davos Co.'s annual report.

We worked with Outtel's HR team to clearly define the "sense of purpose" in their workplace culture. It's an overwhelming differentiator and has resulted in a 20% uptick in accepted offers. [Why Act] Are you exploring this approach?

Let me know if you're interested in our research [Why Us & Why Trust] on why it resonates with top talent. Given that you have several new job openings, this research could be applied immediately [Why Now].

Any chance you're free on the 14th?


Notice how the first few sentences are customized with something that would matter specifically to this recipient. This is a powerful form of customization using trigger events, which ranked very highly in our sales prospecting research for influencing buyers to accept a meeting. Trigger events are something specific that has happened that creates an opening for a seller to reach out. The more you can use trigger events, the more you'll generate actual meetings.

Offer 2: Best Practice

With the best practice approach, the idea is to share insights on what others are doing and what's working to intrigue the buyer to learn more. Here's an example:


I noticed in your investor presentation last week you are focusing on lean manufacturing principles. I'm curious to know how you're focusing on reducing equipment downtime at Valeton Energy?

We just completed a major study on the topic [Why Trust]. Of the top 10 most common practices when managing capital-intensive projects in heavy industry, only 3 have a meaningful impact on reducing equipment downtime [Why Act].



Of course, you can only use this approach if you have this kind of research available. If you're at a larger company, you might already have suitable research or knowledge of best practices. If you're at a smaller company, you can share best practices based on curated research and results you've achieved with other clients in similar industries.

Offer 3: Straight Results

The straight results approach focuses on the outcome or return on investment. Here's an example with the return on investment as the focus:


I'm reaching out because I saw you're planning to reorganize your executive team after the merger with BigCo. With the temporary leadership announcements, it also seems that the team is still in flux [Why Now].

Given the shifts in the market such as X and Y [Why Now], we've been changing how we approach senior leader executive search, and we're almost doubling our placement speed while maintaining a 94% 18-month retention rate [Why Act & Why Us].

I thought you might be interested in hearing about what we've changed [Why Act], and how it's panned out. Interested in discussing?


Offer 4: Capabilities

We all know buyers can find capabilities information on the web. Thus, many sales pundits say, "Don't pitch capabilities as your sales prospecting approach. This information is readily available and not valuable."

However, do you think that, in their rush to get things done, executive buyers are sitting at their computers spending hours searching and browsing websites? If so, good luck with that. For the rest of us, the real situation is that buyers often need what they need when they need it, and even when they go searching for it, it's unlikely they'll find you.

Capabilities was the second most popular response when we asked buyers what content influences their decision to accept a meeting. It's about positioning your capabilities in your outreach the right way. With capabilities, you bring forward a list of competencies and skills a buyer might find appealing at just the right time. Here's an example of a capabilities-focused outreach:


Andrea Jones mentioned you've been looking for ways to streamline R&D processes and suggested I reach out. Are you looking into any of the following areas?

- Doubling efficiency by moving to a completely paperless lab environment. [Why Act]

- Detecting and resolving potential deviations in real-time (rather than waiting for data review). [Why Act]

- Cutting down admin time by up to 30% by centralizing all assays and extractions. [Why Act]

I can walk you through how we do this ahead of our presentation at the Roma Life Sciences Virtual Summit next month [Why Now]. You're free to jump on our website, of course, but I'd also love to get your feedback firsthand on how we compare to other CROs out there. Do you have any time to connect this week?


Note that we opened with a referral to show that this isn't a spam email. Many capabilities-focused emails are spam. Spam is bad form and damages relationships and brands.

Offer 5: Demonstration

For specific offerings like technology, products, and even consulting, demonstrations can be very powerful. With demonstrations, you showcase or present clear examples of your capabilities and the results you achieve with them. Here's a straightforward example of how to ask someone to let you give them a demonstration:

Subject line: Change your mind in 10 min?


I'll keep this short. Your post on TechReview caught my eye, and I couldn't agree more [Why Now]: most enterprise video conferencing platforms are not worth the hype.

I can give you a 10-minute demo of how our platform avoids exactly the 4 pitfalls you described [Why Act]. Are you available on Friday at 10 am?


Even as a demonstration, the offer is positioned as driving insight (showing how to avoid the problems of video conferencing that the recipient themselves mentioned in an article).

Offer 6: First Step

The first step approach is all about offering something of value that's easy for a buyer to accept. Maybe it's not a meeting right away but an invite to an upcoming webinar, or a new white paper, or a piece of research. You're providing value with something they can easily say "yes" to and then ask for the meeting. For example:


I saw on your website your company has 22 openings for technology team members.

I'm reaching out because we have best practices research exclusively for CIO's [Why Act] on how to recruit and develop the highest performing technology teams that we're presenting in an upcoming webinar [Why Now] on September 3.


As a way of introducing ourselves, I'd like to offer a new-hire checklist you can use to speed up the onboarding process. 


With this approach, you offer buyers something low risk: a small amount of their time to spend on something they could find immediately valuable. 

Which Approach Should You Use?

You might be asking yourself, "which outreach method should I use?" Don't stress over it. Think about which ones you have the ability and resources to use, and then test them to see what works for you.

RECOMMENDED READING >> 50 Powerful Sales Questions


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Topics: Sales Prospecting Value Proposition