Stu Heinecke’s article in Harvard Business Review provides great strategies for landing the most difficult meetings.
I struggle with setting effective meetings weekly, but I keep at it because I know that you “only need a few dozen of the right high-level relationships to change the scale of your business.” As a sales consultant the tides of success come big when a strong relationship is forged with an executive that has major influence and a large budget. The idea is to swim far away from the tides of failure that come with meetings that never happen, conversations that do not occur, and business that never takes place because a high level decision maker ignores your calls and gives the business to the competition.
Bring Value And Offer Something Of Greater Value:
Of course, we all want to do that. Stu mentions connecting without pitching the product or service. This is key. How do you get a high-level decision maker to listen? You can provide relevant research to the decision makers business, a white paper that could involve their potential industry and industry factors, and then offer an audit or some deliverable that helps them do their job better.
X Factor Executive Assistant:
Think of the executive assistant differently, like a “talent scout” as the article mentions, and focus on why you are better than everyone else in the marketplace. It is 100% true, most of the time you can’t get through the door with out the executive assistant perceiving you as a valuable resource.
Locking In The Meeting:
I personally haven’t used any of the productivity tools recommended like calendly or timetrade, but it’s worth looking into.
Connect Instead Of “Showing Up And Throwing Up”:
An interactive and exploratory conversation is definitely the way to do it. Be careful though; do not ask obvious questions about the business that you can find an answer to by searching the web or finding about generally through public record. A general question like “what does your group focus on” might backfire and insult an executive questioning how you were able to get the meeting and his or her time to begin with.
This is a great example of a unique and customized approach to getting the customer attention right away by sharing his unique brand. There are certainly many creative approaches you can take, like delivering a relevant industry book along with a small box of sweets or something else that grabs the customer’s attention.
As a rule of thumb a prospect that easily accepts a meeting and is willing to meet any time most likely does not have a budget, influence, and you are likely never to do business. So, employing unique and powerful strategies to land the forever-elusive high-level decision maker with a budget remains the most important thing you can do as a top sales closer.