Most marketing efforts take both time and money. For most of us, time IS money. This means that we need to ensure our efforts result in some type of reward, whether it’s a potential business deal, referral, or new contact for a future venture. With the amount of time we spend in meetings, on phone calls, or sending emails, we need to make sure we aren’t wasting our time speaking with someone who doesn’t have any decision making power.
Here are 4 tips to get you to the decision maker when you’re prospecting.
#1. Know Who You’re Calling
One of the most common mistakes made when prospecting is not knowing who you need to talk to. Imagine speaking to an operator (assuming you even get to a live person) and stumbling to figure out who you need to. In the business industry, we understand the importance of speaking to the right person for your needs and how difficult it can be to get through the first line of defense-the operator.
Do your research to ensure you’re confident when you call. This will help save time and hopefully keep you from being bounced around several departments, especially if it’s a larger company.
One of your best resources when it comes to prospecting is getting an introduction through referrals from previous or current clients. Think back to the many times you’ve met a financial advisor or insurance agent that you absolutely loved. Now, how many times did you pass their information to a friend or colleague? Probably more than you can remember.
Referrals are an easy way to get through the initial gatekeeper and in many cases, they may already be expecting your call. Take advantage of the current contacts you have and reach out for an introduction or referral. Unless your contact asks you not to mention their name, always use it as a way to connect. It also helps build some trust and familiarity.
#3. Use LinkedIn
LinkedIn has become a great source for prospecting over the years. With most business professionals on LinkedIn, there’s a high percentage that you’ll have a common connection or two. LinkedIn is also a resource for learning more about potential prospects such as where they went to school, what organizations they’re involved in, and what common connections you have. This allows you to have several options to connect with THE decision maker, including other employees within the organization to help you get there.
#4. Call Later
A common mistake is calling right at the start of the day. Keep in mind that decision makers tend to have their schedules booked in the mornings for meetings or calls. Decrease your chances of being sent to voicemail by calling later in the day.
Don’t get frustrated if it takes you a few times to perfect your approach. Test out different ways of getting to the decision maker while keeping these 4 tips in the back of your mind. Once you’ve gotten through the door, your focus can shift to keeping the door open by making sure you’re able to offer more than just a sales pitch.