As a business owner, you are acutely aware of the need to constantly seek new clients, satisfying the needs of the ones you have and in essence retaining your revenue stream.
To get to the decision maker is key yet getting through the secretary can be problematic to say the least. Here are 5 tips on how to get over this obstacle.
Do your Homework Thoroughly
It is imperative to know important facts about your potential customer. If your goal is to introduce a particular product or service to them, make sure you know who is currently selling it to them and at what price. For example, say you own a janitorial company and you want to bid on general cleaning for a company seeking a new provider. It would behoove you to find out why they want to replace their current provider; how much that company was charging them; and services they provided.
Try to know your potential clients buying cycle so that you can approach them when they are either thinking of or planning to make a purchase. It is also important to know the probable volumes they normally buy. Having such details will put you in good stead with them. They will see that you are really interested and serious about doing business with them. This applies even when you are doing telemarketing.
Know the Decision Makers Name
Before you make an appointment or a sales call, make sure you know all names of the decision makers. When you meet, make eye contact, introduce yourself and call the decision maker by name. Don’t be informal, be professional and don’t rush to be on a first name basis with the decision maker unless he or she insists. If you are sending emails or anything in writing, make sure you spell the decision makers name correctly. Confirm with the company if possible, as a wrongly spelled name can be disastrous. Some decision makers may not even respond to your inquiry if their names are wrongly spelled. Do you blame them? It shows lack of attention to detail.
Make Receptionists and Assistants Your Allies
Receptionists and assistants must and should be on your side. You cannot afford to have them feeling negatively against you when you are seeking time with their bosses. It is essential that you make every effort to being courteous and respectful when talking with them. Your listening skills is key here. Be keenly aware of the message or instructions they convey to meeting their boss.
At all costs, avoid being confrontational or argumentative when dealing with them. Even when you have succeeded in seeing the decision maker, always make a point of seeking appointments through the appropriate channels. Finally, always stop to say thank you as you leave the office, make this a ritual and you will be surprised at how helpful secretaries and assistants can prove to be.
Call at the Appropriate Time
This is where your good relationship with secretaries and other assistants come in handy. They can easily give you details concerning the overall demeanor, likes, and dislikes of the key decision makers. Apart from being aware of the physical reasons that may work against you, it is also important to know the buying habits and cycle of the company in question. If they only make purchases in the third quarter, trying to close a deal in the 1st quarter may not be very realistic. Depending on the kind of company you are dealing with, try and find out the requisite budgetary allocations relating to either the item or service you are selling.
Track your Activities
It is imperative that you keep updated records about your activities. Keep appointment times on your calendar. Missing a scheduled appointment is unforgivable in business, as it reflects very poorly on you; especially so if the mistake was of your own making. Make sure you manage your time prudently. Always call beforehand to firm up appointments and remind prospective clients about your forthcoming visits. When you are planning one appointment after another, always have some allowance in between which can cater for some unforeseen occurrences. Constantly update your records, let it clearly reflect any changes you have made. Make sure you have set up appropriate reminders.
As you can see, a lot of preparation goes into achieving a successful meeting with a decision maker. By following these five steps, you will enhance your chances.
Get more career and business advice from Sylvia via her blog sylviabrowder.com as well as nawomenrise.com!