When it comes to prospecting—especially in a b-to-b setting, we all know that ideally, the best way to connect with new, qualified people with whom we can discuss our business is through a common relationship—a personal introduction. Yet we all will face situations when we would like to get our foot in the door of an organization, and yet, we feel as though we are hitting a brick wall.
Have you ever felt this way? Chances are, you have at one point or another. Further, it was likely due to one of the following obstacles:
The first of these obstacles is no connection or previous relationship. When we want to get in the door somewhere, isn’t it so much easier when you know someone? Most believe that it is…but I disagree. Quite often, it isn’t enough to simply have a common connection.
I can remember several times from earlier in my career when I was meeting with a new business connection, and I could tell that the other person agreed to the meet out of a sense of obligation to the individual who introduced us. But that was it. The contact had no real desire to sit down with me for a 20-minute conversation (of course that was my fault, because I had failed to give him a reason to do so).
The second obstacle is not knowing who to contact. If you have no prior connection or “inside information,” you most often can only go by title and position. But the real power of decision is not always determined this way. In smaller and family-owned companies, “silent vetoes” abound. How often have you invested time, energy and even money into “selling” a prospect who in the end didn’t hold the power to place the order?
Or perhaps, even worse, what do you do when your presumed contact (because of title or position) is one of those people who just doesn’t want to be bothered?
The third obstacle is often the actual prospect’s attention span. We are speaking about the key decision maker, whether or not you know who they are. Consider how many calls, messages and emails they receive every day. How many do you receive? It can be a challenge to stand out when we are perceived as just one of hundreds of other sales professionals clamoring for the prospect’s attention.
The fourth obstacle is administrative staff. Every day in this country, gatekeepers enjoy tremendous power over entire lives and careers of countless sales people, and often wield it like Thor’s hammer. They will open and shred your letter at their discretion (the one you poured your heart and soul into writing), and they will intercept your call and take a message that never gets delivered, and do that two dozen times before lunch. It’s their job to keep you out! So if you are unknown, you are a nuisance, and thus in for an uphill battle of getting the audience you seek and deserve.
The fifth obstacle is the economy. We keep hearing about how this has been the slowest and most difficult recovery in a long time. While 2014 looks promising (doesn’t every new year?), major changes in the economic and political landscape still have investors and business owners on edge. For companies that are not on outright spending or hiring freezes, any investment they do make in what you offer had better create an impressive return.
Do any of these conditions sound familiar? Are you experiencing any of them today, right now, at this moment? Well first, you should take solace in realizing that you aren’t alone, and realize that there is good news.
When you can’t get your foot in the door, we recommend using a wedge. Next Tuesday, I will share (in as brief a post as possible) a summary of the eight-step strategy that I have been teaching to small groups for the past three years—and it is a strategy that gets RESULTS.
Stay tuned, and see you next week!