Prospecting is still one of the biggest challenges sales professionals face especially when it means trying to connect with busy decision makers.
We recently conducted a webinar, “Cracking More of the Code – Decision Makers Reveal What it Takes to Get a 1st Meeting” and our panel of senior decision makers provided valuable insight on what it takes to stand out from the competition and secure meetings with them.
Here are 6 strategies they shared that will help you secure meetings with senior decision makers.
Strategy #1 – Use referrals
Prior to the webinar we asked the panelists what they felt is most effective way to approach them. Referrals came out on top followed by telephone (yes, telephone still works!) and then email.
All of our panelists said that they are inundated with information so social media is not an effective platform with which to connect. It can be very helpful as part of your research efforts, but not to connect with them from a prospecting perspective. Interestingly, they said that LinkedIn used to be effective but now they get too many requests to connect from too many people they don’t know.
Strategy #2 – Demonstrate Knowledge & Expertise
Every panelist expressed the importance of demonstrating knowledge. This includes; knowledge of your product/solution, an understanding of your competition, as well as expertise in your industry and that of your prospect’s.
It sounds simple and fundamental but several of the panelists expressed frustration at how many sales people they encounter who lack even some of the most basic knowledge.
Strategy #3 – Express Your Intentions
Instead of opening a call with “Bob! How are you today?” and acting like you’re best friends, tell your prospect why you are calling. Be direct. Be upfront. Be honest. And tell them what your intention is. They don’t have time for social chit-chat so get to your point quickly.
If you’re making a cold call, lead with that.
Strategy #4 – Engage in a Business Conversation
Our panelists agreed that they quickly ignore people who launch into a sales pitch. However, they will sit up and pay attention to people who can engage them in a discussion about their business. This means that you need to know what business issues your prospects might be dealing with and the two best ways to achieve this is to research the company before you call and to ask insightful questions when you connect with your prospect.
Strategy #5 – Ask Insightful Questions
Insightful questions make your prospect think and demonstrate that you have expertise and knowledge in their industry (See strategy 2). High-quality questions are not something that you can develop in the moment which means it is important to prepare a few thought-provoking questions before you pick up the telephone and call your prospect.
However, it is critical that these questions focus on key business issues and not on gathering basic information that could be gleaned from a website, receptionist, or other source.
Strategy #6 – Great Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
To catch a busy decision maker’s attention it is essential to develop a strong UVP. A great UVP focuses on a potential outcome such saving money, increasing sales or client loyalty or market share, improving efficiencies or reducing costs just to name a few.
However, if you make a statement like, “We can save you money” you must be able to back up those claims and actually KNOW that you can save your prospect money. All of our panelists expressed frustration when someone used this UVP but later was unable to execute.
If you weren’t able to attend the webinar, you can download a MP3 version of it here.
Teneo Results helps sales teams consistently achieve year-over-year sales growth. Contact us to discuss how we can help you and your company exceed your sales targets. 1-519-863-3975.
Receive a FREE copy of 5 Strategies to Transform Your Team here.
Lisa is driven by the mantra – Be Strategic. Be Pro-active. Be Brave. – and has been successfully training and coaching sales leaders and their teams to do the same for over 15 years. As the President of Teneo Results since 2003, she has trained thousands of sales professionals at more than 250 companies across North America. She transitions salespeople away from the standard “product & price” approach to having purposeful business conversations with their customers that drive results.