How To Get Meetings With Decision Makers
By: Bernadette Doyle
'Getting in front of the decision maker' seems to be the holy
grail of the sales world. Most people think that the only way to secure
meetings is through luck or cold calling. Yet there is an easier way.
The following steps are identical to the steps I followed on my journey to
becoming a 'Client Magnet'. Eventually, I didn't have to make any cold
calls, because all of my meetings were taking place at the request of
qualified, ready to buy decision makers who had already decided that they
wanted to work with me.
How to Get in Front of Decision Makers - the easy way
1. Focus on a specific niche because that automatically makes you a
specialist and a certain authority.
2. Get known as an expert in your field by speaking at events and
conferences populated by your target audience, write articles and get them
published in trade publications read by your target audience.
3. At the end of your article or talk offer a giveaway such as a free
report that conveys your expertise, and provides valuable useful content to
your reader. Give this in exchange for the reader's contact details and
permission to stay in touch over time.
4. Send a follow up sequence of messages (automated if possible) that drip
feeds further valuable content to your prospect, and subtly conveys your
expertise, your authority and lets them know about success stories other
clients are having.
5. Resist the temptation to ask for a meeting immediately, the people who
are really keen to meet you will call and ask anyway, the others may need
more time to get to know you. Don't risk scaring them off by pouncing for a
meeting immediately. Being 'needy' for a meeting hurts your credibility
too, because in the world of selling professional services, there's an
unspoken assumption that if you are any good at what you are doing, then
your diary should automatically be full (I know that's not how it works in
practice, but that's the bias you're up against!)
6. In at least one of your messages, offer a meeting, but make sure you
outline all the potential benefits of meeting with you. It's got to be more
inspiring than 'free consultation.' Ask yourself, what does the prospect
stand to gain from meeting with you - even if he or she DOESN'T become a
client immediately? Will they learn something new, get reassurance, have
their awareness raised on a certain area? If you want to 'sell the meeting'
you have to sell the benefits of the meeting.
7. Some people will respond immediately, others will need more time. Have a
regular follow up (such as a newsletter like this) that keeps you in
contact, and continues building the relationship with your prospects.
8. Get used to receiving calls from people along the lines of 'we're
thinking of doing a new project a we're wondering how you can help us'.
Enjoy meetings which have a completely different dynamic from the meetings
you secured via cold calling, because you've been invited in as an expert,
and the prospect is already 'pre-sold' and wants to work with you. Notice
that your conversion rate is higher at these meetings.
9. Tweak the process. If you're not getting enough meetings, what needs to
change? Do you need to get more people into your funnel at the front end,
or do you need to improve your conversion process of prospects to meetings?
10. Enjoy the process as momentum builds and the 'snowball effect' kicks
in. Enjoy being a 'Client Magnet' and able to pick and choose from a
tempting array of potential projects.
Because of the steps involved in laying the foundation, many people shy
away from the easy way. It seems like there is too much ground work
involved! And maybe there is, in the short term, but you are laying a
foundation that will continue to reap rewards over and over. And what's the
alternative? Another cold call?
If you don't want to be at the mercy of random projects coming your way,
and you don't want to be tied to a desk cold calling for the rest of your
life, then this is definitely the path forward that I recommend.
© Bernadette Doyle, 2006. Reprint rights granted to all venues so long
as the article and by-line are reprinted intact and all links made live.
Bernadette Doyle is dedicated to helping self-employed and small businesses
become Client Magnets. Get her FREE report "7 Secrets of Becoming A Client
Magnet and Attracting All the Clients You Want" by visiting Client Magnets.