I had a phone call last week from someone purporting to be a Japanese investment advisor. It was clearly a call center working off a script using a database they had picked up of Indian companies.
Out of curiosity, I listened to her pitch. She finished with the question: “In the next eight weeks if we can offer you a suitable investment opportunity in Japan, how likely would you be to invest?”
As a sales pre-qualification question, it doesn’t seem useful. The conversation has just begun, and it is too early to ask for commitments on investment. There is a high chance that the prospect says no and even if they say yes, it doesn’t mean much. But the question was carefully phrased, not asking ‘will you invest’, rather the softer ‘how likely would you be’.
I wonder if this is similar to the Nigerian scam emails, where (supposedly) the senders would include typos and grammar mistakes. Educated or perceptive people would spot the errors and ignore the email as spam. Gullible people would get caught up in the story.
If you were to cold-call internationally for dodgy investments, you probably want to narrow your prospect list down quickly. No experienced investors, no one who will ask too many questions, no one who gets suspicious.
Maybe it was the right question to ask. Not so pushy that it turns everyone away, but just enough ‘off’ that only gullible people move ahead?
When we design marketing communications, there is lots of focus on the ideal customer. Who are they, where are they, what do they watch/read/do? Which benefits and features will appeal the most?
You can also consider your ‘non-ideal’ customer. They might move down the purchase funnel but never buy. They might buy with the wrong expectations – what problem the product solves, or the level of support they expect.
The marketing challenge is to attract the ideal customers while discouraging the non-ideal ones.