Get to the top dog.
About six months ago a sales representative, named Doug, did some research on firms in his sales territory. In the course of his research, Doug obtained the names of all the company officers from the CEO down to the managers. He decided to start with a manager whose division was a perfect candidate for Doug’s sales products. It took four weeks to finally get into the manager’s office where he recommended that Doug call on the assistant manager. Two weeks later Doug met with the assistant manager who sent him to the vice president, who allowed Doug to meet with their CEO, the person who makes all the decisions. While Doug was sitting in the CEO’s outer office, leafing through the company’s newsletter, he came across a story on how the CEO had just signed a contract with Doug’s major competitor the week before.
Now, chances are that Doug is not going to make a sale and chances are high that Doug will be convinced to start his selling cycle earlier, instead of at the top, with the next company. Doug’s mistake was that he called on everyone else first when he should have gone straight to the CE0, but don’t tell him that.
Be fearless and pro-active
Pick up the phone and speak with the person who calls the shots. That’s it. Let’s assume you actually have the chance to speak with the head person. If you ask them, “I know that you probably don’t get involved in X, but could you tell me who is?” you will more than likely get a name. When you call that new contact ten minutes later, explain that you were just talking with the CEO of the company and that they referred you to them.
If Doug used this approach, what do you think would have happened? He would have had a better chance making his sale. If he called the CEO and didn’t get anywhere, Doug would not have lost anything by attempting. There is no way to lose by starting at the top.
3 ways to warm up to the top dog.
- Set up a Google alert with the CEO’s name, when you see publicity mentioning them, photocopy it and drop them a note with some smart comment.
- Learn something about their biggest competitor; send a note with that intelligence.
- Do some Sherlock work, find out the CEO’s sweet spot; chocolate, cigar, golf, something small that is related to this and send it to them.
Clint Babcock, Partner with the Sandler Training, is an interactive and engaging trainer that has trained thousands of sales people and sales managers. Clint works with Business Owners and companies that are struggling in the areas of sales Strategy, Structure, Staff, and Skills. Through ongoing reinforcement coaching and training, Clint has been able to help companies grow revenues and greatly increase their closing percentages. Clint often is called on to speak at national sales meetings and various associations. Clint can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.