Access to Executive Decision Makers
One of the first steps in any sales process is getting a meeting with your target buyer. Most sales strategies try to go as high in a company as you can, but it is becoming more and more difficult to gain access to executive decision makers.
Rather than learn about all the slick, cheesy, and ineffective sales prospecting tricks to get someone to speak with you, let’s look at why executives grant time to sellers. What matters to executives as they decide whether to meet with a salesperson?
The Top 3 Ways to Get Access to Executive Decision Makers
Here, from an executive’s point of view, are three situations when executive buyers are most likely to agree to meet with a seller.
1. Already a Customer
It just makes sense. Once an executive has chosen to buy from you and assuming the results were satisfactory, that buyer is open to talk about new opportunities to do more business. The seller’s challenge is to make sure that each interaction continues to build a meaningful personal and professional relationship. That means adding value to each conversation and looking for additional ways to support the client’s success.
2. Introduced by a Respected Contact
Referrals are the most effective way to gain access to executive decision makers. If the buyer respects the intermediary, they are very likely to honor the introduction more than 75% of the time. And our referral selling data shows that a sales referral closes 50% more often than any other sales lead.
As a salesperson, never let an opportunity to obtain a qualified referral get away. Every time you meet with a customer, be sure to ask if there are others in their network that match your target client criteria and who could benefit from what you have to offer. Then follow up with the next step – ask for a warm introduction.
3. The Right Timing
So many calls – so many rebuffs. But occasionally you strike gold. You have hit upon a topic that is top of mind for the executive. You have a solution to a problem the buyer has just become aware of. Your timing is perfect and you get to schedule a meeting.
But, salespeople, understand that luck alone is not responsible. It’s your ability to anticipate the needs of your targets combined with a thoughtfully consistent prospecting strategy that wins in the end. What is your plan to make your solutions top of mind for your target buyers?
Be aware that executives also speak of a situation where they will almost never meet with a salesperson – when the request for a meeting involves deceit. They don’t want to do business with someone who tries to trick them into a meeting. How could this happen? By dishonestly using the name of someone as a referral, or claiming you have a title you never earned, or overstating what your product or service can deliver.
The Bottom Line
To gain access to executive decision makers, think like an executive buyer. Identify what would persuade them to give you some time out of their busy schedule. Then once you have earned the right to a meeting, make sure you prepare thoroughly and make the time worth their while.
To learn more about how to get meetings with executives, download How to Sell Through Networking and Referrals to Grow Faster