Studies show that getting someone to agree to a small thing increases the odds that they will agree to something larger if asked for it at a later date. Thus, if your business model involves substantial outlays of cash, such as enterprise software, the goal of first contact should be getting a small agreement from them.
The sales pitch will come later. For now, you just want them to say "yes" to something. Some things that get asked in this space include: asking for an email address to add them to a list, ask them if they want to see a white paper on the subject, or ask for an initial meeting.
If you want this to become repeat business, then you need to play the long game. That means you need to be ethical and establish trust. You need to earn their trust by proving you are trustworthy.
Therefore, it is wise to offer them something of genuine value, such as a free white paper or access to proprietary research data. If done right, this will not only begin the process of establishing that you are trustworthy, it can also begin the process of establishing that you are an expert on this particular topic or in this specific field. In other words, it can portray you as the go to person for certain kinds of information.
At the same time, it can begin the process of educating them about the product. In some cases, people do not understand why they should value something or why it is best to do things a certain way. Certain kinds of products cannot be sold effectively without first educating the consumer about the problem space. This will help them understand why some solutions are better than others.
If, in fact, your product is a superior solution, the best means to sell it will be to educate the target audience about both the problem space and the available solutions. You want them to know why something well or does not work well.
Do not just say "trust me." That is what con artists do. Real trust is earned.
Legitimate businesses always have their eye on the long game. There is a time and a place for using short term tactics, like time pressure or limited time offers, but always make sure that such tactics do not undermine your long term relationship to the customer.
Jonah Engler is a financial expert from NYC.