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Marketing to the CEO

“When you’re the janitor, reasons matter. Somewhere between the janitor and the CEO, reasons stop mattering.”

― Steve jobs

Marketing to the decision maker is key in any business. Most new sales people work from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, getting caught by a gate keeper only to leave message after message and never get through to the person they actually need to speak to…the decision maker.

A few years ago, I started making my marketing calls at 6:00 am to 8:00 am and 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Who in their right mind works at such hours? Decision makers of course. Working at these times, opens you up to the hard driving, get it done people that feel the need to be there early and stay up late.

Many of my sales management students ask, now that I get them on the phone, what the heck do I say. I advise, if they are a CEO, COO, or are in a leadership position, chances are that at some point in their career, they have done some cold or warm calling. Your call will be a refreshing distraction from the budget they are reviewing, the human resource issue that is bogging them down, or the major decision that has to be made…. right now.

First, advice THIS IS A SALES CALL, but it will only take 43 seconds, at the end of the 43 seconds, YOU…the CEO decide if we keep talking. Understanding that people buy emotionally and not intellectually, my next piece of advice is to tell them why people have bought from you in the past using emotional words like concerned, frustrated, angry, embarrassed. For example, many of our clients have hired us because they were angry that the representative they now have is not their original representative and things just don’t seem to be the same.

Once you have thrown only three potential reasons people have hired your firm, stop and ask did you hear any reason that might lead you to believe we should keep talking? If they say, no, ask if you can ask one more question. When they say yes and they will, ask, when you were a younger sales person, what is the one piece of advice you received that allowed you to become the leader of your company.

Usually this starts a conversation and is an EGO boost for most EGO center leaders. People love to share about themselves. They want to tell you how they achieved such greatness, even if their greatness is not really that great. In every sales situation always remember that it is NEVER about YOU, it is always about them.

Old style sales is beating your chest, telling everyone who will listen that you are the greatest because you won an award, saved someone thousands and thousands of dollars, or that you are the greatest thing since sliced bread. “New” sales are answering the question posed by a prospect “Why should I buy from you?” with “Maybe you shouldn’t”.

Quit prospecting from 9 to 5. Everyone else is doing that and not doing a very good job with it. Focus on the off times and if you must, leave a voice mail with the time you are calling explaining that you learned years ago successful people work early and late and that you would like the opportunity to have a conversation about your product or service.

Finally, I have a golden rule that I only call prospects 10 times. This is more than enough to make a connection with anyone no matter how busy they are. My process is simple, first call I leave a voice mail. The next 8 calls I merely call, but do not leave a message. On the 10th call I advise, “Mr. or Mrs. Prospect, I’ve reached out to you 10 times, I know this because I track every phone call I make. I will not ever call you again, but if you think it might be a good idea for us to discuss your (insert product or service) needs, it might make sense for you and I to have a conversation. Hang up and amazingly you’ll get some calls back. Once you take away from a prospect the ability to tell you NO and you tell them NO, the game changes. Go for the NO!

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