Ever try to set up a meeting with a senior-level executive? Then you know how tough it is to connect with these crazy-busy people who are never in their office, rarely answer their phones and seldom reply to voicemail or e-mail. To add insult to injury, savvy assistants zealously protect them from unnecessary interruptions.
Whether you talk to the C-level executive or a gatekeeper, b-to-b sales reps need to follow the four SNAP Rules:
Keep it simple: Don’t overwhelm them with anything; net it out.
Be invaluable: Realize that you are the primary differentiator today.
Always align: Focus your message on their key business objectives.
Raise priorities: Keep your eye on changes that can increase momentum.
Here’s your challenge: You need to convey all that in a 25-second voicemail or short e-mail message. But, if you ever hope to gain access, it’s imperative. And, you may need to reach out to these busy people between ten and 14 different times before you get your foot in the door. Follow these strategies to get a meeting with a C-level executive:
Pay the price of admission: If you go to Disneyland, you fork over $72 to get inside. To gain access to the C-Suite requires knowledge of their business, industry or marketplace. Make sure to mention at least one juicy and relevant tidbit whenever you contact them. Hoover’s, LinkedIn, Manta, ZoomInfo and your prospect’s corporate Web site provide excellent resources for your preliminary research.
Leverage trigger events: Identify occurrences (e.g. new facilities, legislation changes, third-quarter earnings) that create opportunities for lead generation. Stay up-to-date on these changes by using automated alert systems. Again, refer to this event when you initiate contact. Dow Jones, Google Alerts, InsideView and SalesFuel are a few valuable resources for identifying important trigger events.
Talk strategic value: Executives only get involved with decisions that move the company towards their desired future. Unless you can clearly articulate the business value you provide in these key areas, they don’t have time for you. One more time, make sure to address this in your messages.
Whatever you do, don’t mention your product, service or company. They’re entirely irrelevant to a C-level executive. If you bring them up in an initial conversation, the door slams shut on you. As you can see, dealing with senior executives requires lots of preliminary effort and planning. But the pay-off can be huge.