Tips for Gaining Access to Key Decision Makers and Influencers

Sales Pro Source
December 19, 2012 — 1,013 views  
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Tips for Gaining Access to Key Decision Makers and Influencers

When a group of major executives were surveyed recently, 84 percent indicated that the best way to reach them would be with a referral from some within their organization. Authorities will also tell you that sales professionals often “strike out” when attempting to make cold calls because they tend to over-emphasize lists and number of calls made instead of carefully planning their calls to make each one unique.

What Internal Calls can Accomplish

By contacting someone to use as a referral, a sales rep can compile information related to the target company that they would never uncover by visiting their website or using other sources. Ideally, they will be very candid about the purpose of their call, namely that they are preparing to speak to one of their company’s key decision makers.

Note that the questions the sales person proceeds to ask should be a reflection of the research they have already done prior to making these internal calls. The responses will enable the rep to identify a problem, need or goal within the target company that their organization is prepared to address with its various products and services. If the questions they ask are both ethical and relevant, that will show the prospect that the rep is interested, sincere and doesn’t intend to take up too much of their time.

Getting the Referrals you Need

Generally speaking, most initial contacts are receptive to such calls and willing to answer the rep’s questions, even when they are rather busy. They will also readily agree to have the rep mention the conversation to a key decision maker, which provides the inside referral the rep wanted and needed.

Why this Method Works

By taking this approach, the sales professional can ensure that every cold call will be productive in some way. With a few internal calls, they can compile valuable information related to the target company and feel more confident as they prepare to contact a top executive.

Using the notes they have gathered from these calls, the rep’s next step is to craft a unique script prior to calling a key decision maker, and they should proceed to practice it in order to sound natural rather than contrived. The script can also include earlier calls made to the target company, mention the names of those who were contacted, and highlight the various goals, needs or problems that were discussed at that time.

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