Pitching to the Wrong Person?
There’s nothing worse than picking up the phone, calling a new prospective account and giving your “sales pitch” to the first person that answers. That person is most likely not the person that has the authority to give you a “yes” or “no.”
Sometimes, we may be overly eager to qualify or disqualify a new prospect, so we take the first answer we get and move on. This is often doing ourselves a disfavor, as there may be missed opportunities left on the table.
It may take a little more research and asking questions in the beginning, but you’ll be thanking yourself when you get to the decision maker that has the authority to give you a “yes.”
My past experience is working in event sales, selling and promoting events hosted at the venues that I worked with. A big chunk of our business was corporate events – Holiday Parties, Team Building Activities, Meetings, etc.
When calling on new corporate clients, I would often get to the receptionist or office manager, who would be hasty in telling me, “We don’t do company parties.” Now, it would be easy to take that answer and move on, but I don’t always like taking “no” for an answer. I knew if I could get to the right person (usually a company event planner or someone in HR), I would be more successful in talking with the person who is ultimately the decision maker.
The next question back to this individual may be, “If your company were to do events, or perhaps if you have done them in the past, who would typically take care of planning them?” This can help get you pointed in the right direction.
Who Benefits from your Product or Service?
When working in B2B (business to business) sales, there are different roles that you may be working with depending on the product or service you are offering.
For example – If you design magnificent websites, you may want to connect with someone in Marketing, as they would be the ones to benefit from growing their reach with a website redesign. When offering employee benefit programs, you will most likely want to talk to someone on the Human Resources team, as they are the ones managing the employee experience. If you are selling cleaning supplies, it would be most beneficial to talk to someone in Housekeeping or Maintenance, who would be the ones actually using your product.
Think about the person within each organization who can benefit from knowing more about what you offer. We’re not just trying to pitch to anyone that will listen. Our goal is to connect with the person who can relate to what we’re selling and who is ultimately the person that can give us a “yes” or a “no.”
Do your Research Ahead of Time
With LinkedIn and other services available online, there are endless opportunities to do a little research on the person you should be talking with.
Often times, you can find team members listed on the company website with their titles. LinkedIn is also an amazing resource for searching companies and using the advanced search filters to then search within the company for – name, title, role, etc. While looking online and researching on LinkedIn, look for all the extra information you can on your prospect. Maybe you have common connections that you can reference for an introduction, or perhaps you both went to the same college. This is all information you can use when doing your outreach. The more you can stand out as someone amongst the competition, the better.
And When You’re Really Not Sure…
Did you do your all your research, and you still can’t figure out who to talk to? Happens to me all the time. Pick up the phone and simply ask who is the best person to speak to.
In my current role, I work in sales for a corporate housing provider. What’s that, you ask? We offer furnished apartments for flexible short- and long-term stays. We often work with employees that are relocating for new opportunities or may be working in the area for an extended period of time and couldn’t imagine spending more than a few nights in a hotel.
In this role, it is tricky to find the person within a company that has a need for what we offer. Sometimes, it is HR. Other times, it can be an Executive Assistant, Facilities Manager, Travel Coordinator, and the list goes on. When I don’t know who to talk with, I simply call, give a LITTLE bit of info on what we do and ask who may handle that.
By reframing our outreach efforts in this way, we can be more targeted with our efforts to connect, which leads to more success and more meaningful conversations. Happy Selling!
Getting to the Decision Maker
- Ask yourself who can benefit from what you’re offering.
- Do your research ahead of time to find the right point of contact.
- Still not sure? Build some rapport on your first call and ask to be pointed in the right direction.