Off the Cuff Instant Interview Question: Could you give us one clever and often-overlooked tactic for booking meetings with hard-to-reach decision makers?
I’ll answer this question with the answer I gave a Biz Dev Done Right webinar attendee. The question was, “Despite trying different direct messaging techniques including phone calls, emails, LinkedIn messages and warm introductions, one decision maker won’t respond to me. Any suggestions?”
Are you 100 percent certain that this is the right person to reach? Is it obvious to the prospect that he or she is the correct person? Do you have 100 percent certainty that your voice mails, emails, LinkedIn messages and other communications make it clear why the decision maker should respond? Were your messages short and concise? Did they explain clearly how meeting with you would make that prospect’s life better? Was your subject line compelling, not “salesy?” Was your “ask” clear? If not, now is the time to massage your messaging. Make it easy for prospects to say “yes!”
If you’re sure your contact is the right person, your sales message is compelling, and the ask is clear, here are a few successful techniques our Door Openers use:
- Call the assistant, if the decision maker has one, and ask for help. Let the assistant know you’ve been trying to reach the decision maker, and ask for guidance regarding what to do next. Explain why the decision maker would not want to put off meeting you. Avoid phrases such as, “I would love a meeting.” That’s about you. The assistant will likely need to ask the decision maker for permission. Arm the assistant with easily digestible information (not a lengthy PowerPoint) that will help the prospect say “yes.”
- Call or email on a Sunday night. Decision makers often clear their email inboxes and voicemail boxes on the weekend. After you explain why a meeting with you is important, ask him/her to give the assistant permission to put a meeting on the calendar. Then, call the assistant Monday morning to follow up on the date and time that works.
- Ask for a meeting by phone/email, then send a calendar invite proposing a half-hour timeslot. Let the decision maker know you will send an invite for easy scheduling and that you are open to other dates and times if what you initially proposed does not work.
- Email asking your prospect if he or she is the right person with whom to speak. If not, ask to be directed to the appropriate person. Sometimes the right person will apologize for not responding sooner. Express your understanding of how busy life is and ask for the meeting!
Remember the 3 P’s of prospect follow up: Persistence with patience without being a pest. Hang in there and keep trying. Your competition won’t!
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