Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Politically Connect and Intrigue Impossible-to-reach Prospects

Last week we explored how to get past the receptionist to reach your prospect. But how do you reach decision makers who are almost impossible to get ahold of?

You know who I'm talking about: these are the captains of industry whose office is a fortress, their schedule a closely guarded secret by their minions, and they're almost always out of town. Senior executives of Fortune 100 companies usually fall into this category. How do you reach the likes of Ballmer, Otellini, Buffet, Price?

Build up Buzz

There's a technique I learned years ago that I'll share here. This way of generating buzz is solid gold by itself.  Grouping it with last week's technique and another concept that I'll share next week will enable you to deliver a powerhouse effect. This will increase your ability to reach those truly impossible to reach people... you'll find it a useful tool even if your role isn't direct sales.

The concept goes like this: you send a professionally written sales letter to your intended prospect.  Then send similar but different letters to several other people within the organization. To learn how to write a sales letter, check out How to Write Sales Letters That Sell or The Robert Collier Letter Book.

Now here's the key: In each letter you send, make sure you mention that you're also sending letters to others in the organization and name them. This will impress upon the recipient that you do your homework and that you are committed to achieving your goal. Send one to the person's boss and one each to several peers within the organization. You want to get them all talking to each other about you.

Let's say, for instance, you're trying to reach the CIO of XYZ Company. You'd send her a letter and also letters to her CEO and several other department heads. Maybe you'd select the Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Financial Officer.

Tell them each that you're mailing the others, and relay that your goal is to obtain a presentation, visit, demonstration, or whatever your objective.

Make Politics Work for You

This approach works because of the politics of an organization: your prospect can't simply ignore your letter because he or she knows you've mailed their boss as well. One of her peers may bring up the subject out of curiosity or even competition. Since you've informed your prospect you've made their peers aware, s/he'll know that your name might come up and they'll have to be ready.

One or more of them might mention they received a letter and conversation will ensue.   Questions will arise: why didn't this dept head get one while that one did? What is the purpose of all these letters?

At the very least, your name and company will be discussed at the highest levels. And at the best, you may earn an advocate from one of the other dept heads where you might have previously been ignored.

I encourage you to try this. It vaults your response rate and has gotten me into many meetings with hard-to-reach people. Often you'll receive a warm welcome as the executive will appreciate the novel approach. And occasionally the peers you mailed will sit in as well since they feel involved. It greases the skids nicely.

Incidentally, if you know of the source from which I'm taking this technique, please write and let me know so I can credit the author and make the book available in our recommended resources section. I remember he lives in Minneapolis and he was an aspiring performer. He developed the concept to reach music executives to get auditions.

Next week I'll add a second component to this concept that brings synergy to this approach. I'd estimate using this technique alone will increase your acceptance rate three to five times.  When you combine them, you can expect even better returns. Together they provided me a tremendous synergy that allowed me to contact and close more business. Stay tuned. Until then,

profitable business All!

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