To get in the door in new accounts at the executive level,
you must first establish your value with the executive. There
in lies the challenge. If you haven’t spoken to the executive,
how can you possibly establish value? Follow these three critical
steps and you will demonstrate value in meeting with you and
get your appointment.
1. Do your homework
Yes, we’ve all heard it before. Do research before placing the first
call to get in the door. But it’s what you are looking for that
will give you the data you need to establish your value. Look for:
- Possible business needs – what might be going on in their
organization that could lead them to need your offering?
- Top strategic initiatives – what initiatives is the company
investing in? What would your target executive’s responsibility
be in achieving those initiatives and how can you help?
Find this information in all the places you have looked before:
company web site, business information sites, on-line and printed
periodicals, Google search on the executive’s name, etc. Read for
possible business needs or strategic initiatives you can discuss
in your first call, then craft a message that demonstrates the value
you will bring including:
- The possible business need or strategic initiative you have
- How you have helped other companies with similar needs or initiatives
- Briefly, how you think you might be able to assist
- Meeting request
2. Respect the Gatekeeper
Often you are lucky enough to reach a “gatekeeper” assistant
taking the executive’s calls. This “gatekeeper” is your
ally in your efforts to schedule an appointment. Use your value
proposition with him. This is the second step in establishing your
credibility with the executive.
If the assistant believes you can provide value to the executive
he will let you schedule time to speak with the executive. After
using your value proposition, ask if it would be possible to schedule
20 minutes on the executive’s calendar, acknowledging that you recognize
the assistant will need to verify the meeting with the executive.
At the same time, ask to leave a personal voicemail for the executive
stating your value proposition and why you’re on their schedule,
allowing the executive to hear the value you can bring.
By sharing knowledge with gatekeepers, and affording them the respect
they deserve, they can speed your efforts in meeting with executives.
3. Use Outlook as a Tool
Many executives do not have an assistant and you will reach voicemail
when you call. Cold calling today requires an average of 9 calls
before the contact will return your call. To speed the process,
and demonstrate your professionalism, credibility, and value use
Microsoft Outlook to schedule a 20-30 minute meeting with the executive.
Many companies use Outlook, or understand an Outlook calendar request
In your initial voicemail, alert the executive that you will be
sending two calendar invitation options “in the event that
is an easier way to respond”. If you have established your
value and hit on possible business needs or a strategic initiative
of importance, the executive will accept your invitation, or suggest
an alternative time.
How do you get email addresses without a referral?
- Ask the main receptionist
- Check the company’s website to see if it is listed
- Check the company’s website for clues to email formatting conventions
By taking these three critical steps you can improve your odds
of establishing the value required to gain access to an executive.