In the B2B world, the single biggest struggle is getting past gatekeepers and in front of the decision maker. Gatekeepers are better than ever at their jobs. C-level executives are buried in secretaries, assistants, managers and PR executives. The good ones are the hardest to reach, too.
First, you gotta understand there are reasons decision makers aren’t easily accessed. One of those reasons is to protect them from you, the salesperson. Decision makers get pitched everywhere they go and on every call they take.
This is distracting AF, and in order for them to keep focused on all the other stuff they must do, they have to hide from sales pitches.
Basically, you’re playing the corporate equivalent of cops and robbers. You’re trying to track down and capture business from someone who doesn’t want to be captured. You’re gonna need to go all forensic on them. You’re gonna need some clues in order to make your case. The good news is, I got you, fam!
First, you can NEVER – EVER – EVER call and say something like, “Can I talk to the manager or hiring agent?” You better know exactly who you are contacting. You need to call and say, “Can I talk to Harold in HR?” Act like you know who you want to speak with and that you belong on the phone with them.
If you don’t know the decision maker’s name, you are just being lazy and gatekeepers know it. These days we have Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Not to mention the company website and roster. You can also use a tool called KickFire that will give you the information of everyone who works there just by hovering your mouse over the page. KickFire will provide the entire lineup, the company breakdown and even provide a CRM for you.
The first step to getting in front of the decision maker is finding out WHO the decision maker is. You need to know their name and their title. Once you know who you’re looking to pitch, you need to know HOW to pitch them. This is where the clue-finding forensics come in. It’s time to go full-on stalker status.
Creep all over their social media; send them connection requests and start fact-finding.
You’re not looking into their job. You’re looking into their personal life. People buy from people they like and know. You need to know what they like, so you can use it to leverage them to like you. Are they into sports? Reading books? Do they have any hobbies like CrossFit or golf? These are the things you’re looking for.
You also need to learn who your common connections are, so you can hit those people up and ask what they know about the prospect. Then ask them if they can make an introduction for you. Leverage every single thing you can.
While other salespeople are trying to pitch a similar product as yours to the same prospect you are, you will stand out. Also, while they are fighting the gatekeeper, you’ll be making moves. Abe Lincoln once said, “If I had five minutes to cut down a tree, I’d spend three of them sharpening my ax.”
Research sharpens your ax for when you go in for the chop.
Once you figure out their hobbies, likes and lifestyle, you can work your magic. First, when you send a DM on LinkedIn, send them something they find interesting. If they are into spearfishing, go to YouTube, pull up the coolest spearfishing video you can find, send it to them and say something like:
“I know you’re into spearfishing. I’ve been thinking about trying it out. I’m looking at going to Pensacola, Florida. Have you been there? I hear the grouper are a good start for rookie spearfishermen. Any thoughts?”
Notice there’s nothing about work in there?
You see, work will come. But first, you have to show them you care about them. The fastest way to get someone’s attention is to pay attention to them. When you show up talking about their hobby, you demonstrate you’re paying attention. The whole reason people put stuff on social media is so others will pay attention to them. You’re doing just that.
If they are into sports, talk about the latest game and invite them to a game with you. Don’t be a cheap bastard either. You gotta spend money to make money. Plus, if you take a client to a sports game, strip club or bar, it’s a write-off. You spent that money to acquire business. (Talk to your CPA. I have no clue.)
If you can’t get them to respond on social media, or if they have a social media gatekeeper, you can use the mail. Send them something from Amazon. Send a business book from someone they like. Send a sports team jersey or bobblehead. Spend a few bucks and send them something that will make them want to call and thank you.
B2B sales aren’t usually one-time closes. This a true corporate dating process. The good girls never let you bang on the first date. The good B2B accounts are the same way. If they jump into bed with you fast, they will do the same thing with your competitor if the opportunity arises.
The big takeaways here are to show interest in them, invest in them to gain the relationship and take it slow. I know you probably need to close a sale fast, but trust me, those three minutes of sharpening the ax make those last two minutes way easier. For more B2B and B2C sales strategies join our mastermind program www.breakfreeacademy.com/entourage