Sales Bullpen Sales Newsletter - January 2004New Years Resolution---Call as high as you can--------you only get one chance !
Happy New Year everyone! All the indicators are that business's are past the 'cutting expenses' phase and now looking to spend money in order to grow their business in 2004.
Reuters January 11, 2004
Which brings me to my topic this month. If you do one thing this year make a New Year's resolution to call as high as you can----because you only get one chance. If you think about it, who really knows the direction of the company and who has the final authority? Is the office manager? Is it the director of IT? Is it the VP of Engineering? No, it is the President of the company.
Why don't people call higher? FEAR! There is a big fear among sales people to call too high because they are afraid they are going to upset someone or offend someone in the customer's organization. I believe this fear also comes from not really knowing their own products and not having a good idea about what to say to an executive. In my book, 'Accelerate Your Sales', I talk about how to prepare for calling high at the executive level and what to say.
Why are sales people afraid to offend someone? The executives at the top don't think that way. Do you know who thinks that way? The department managers lower on the totem pole. The lower level manager who doesn't have the authority to make a decision can say 'No', but usually can't say, 'Yes!' Once you start at the top, it's okay to move down in the organization, because you can always go back up. Don't get cut off at the knees before you get started. Only a lower level manager would say something like this,
'I want you to only work with me. I don't want you going around me or going to my boss. If you do, I will not work with you any more.'
If you work with the president or vice president of the company, they aren't afraid of you going around them because there is no one else to go to. You are at the top! But if you start at the bottom and someone tells you not to go higher in the organization, then you are stuck and going over their head will cause some problems.
Here is a quick story. One day my manager calls me into his office. He says that he would like me to take over an account where we aren't making much progress. I'm thinking to myself, 'oh great, another tough account that no one else can crack that will probably end up a waste of time' When my manager tells me the name of the account, I get real excited. This account has a lot of potential and I knew that this prospect could use our products. The first question I asked my manager was, 'who have you been calling on in the account?' The manager said that the previous rep had been calling at the department manager level and had not gotten very far because the manager seemed to be too busy to meet with the previous rep. I said, 'okay, here is my strategy. I know that the key guy is the vice president of technology. Everybody on the street knows that this guy is king and that the president of the company will do whatever this guy wants. So I am going to call this guy and ask for a meeting.' My manager agreed and said, 'good luck.' Before I made that call, I met with the previous rep to see what files he had on the account and to ask him some questions. I asked him who he called on and why had he had such a tough time getting into the account. I asked if he had tried to call on the vp of technology. The rep confided in me that he hadn't really tried to call on this vp because he was a 'afraid' to call on this guy. He had heard that this vp was very technical and hard to talk to. He also said he had left him several voicemails but never heard anything back.
The next day I call this vp's number and got transferred to his administrative assistant. I introduced myself and said that I was looking to schedule an appointment. I then asked for some help and asked what was the best way to communicate with this person. The admin was pleasantly surprised and liked the fact that I asked for her help. She then confided that the best way to schedule an appointment was to send her boss an email. She went on to say that this person made his own appointments and did not check voicemail very often. She said this guy was strickly an 'email' guy and was religious about checking his email. I thanked her and now knew what I had to do.
I sat down and wrote an email to this vp and stated that I was new to the territory and that the previous account manager had gotten stuck at a lower level within the organization. I then stated why I thought there was a good reason to get together. I also offered to get together any time that was convenient including breakfast on Saturday morning since I knew this vp was very busy during the normal week. I was honest, straight forward, confident and to the point. I reread the email about 10 times and said, 'lets see what happens?'.
I got a reply to my email later that night with a timestamp of 11:48 pm. The contact stated that he was glad to get my email and was surprised no one had called on him directly before. Apparently he never got the voicemails the previous rep had left for him on his voicemail system. As it turned out, we did meet for breakfast on Saturday and we had a very frank discussion. He told me that my company was a little behind the curve in terms of the competition. I told him that I appreciated his honesty and that I would do whatever I could to correct that impression. All I was asking for was a chance to show what my company could do to provide the best solution for his company. The prospect agreed to give us another chance and I asked to schedule a follow up meeting for the following week. With that, we ended the meeting and then the real work began. From this rough start, this prospect became a good friend and one of my biggest customers.
Don't be afraid to call high. Give it a try and let me know how it works. This one change in your behavior will help you, accelerate your sales!
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