One of the key issues clients face is how to get in front of key decision makers. Most businesses think that the only way to secure meetings is through luck or cold calling. Yet there is an easier way.
The following steps reflect the approach I use myself and successfully implemented with clients. Eventually, all meetings which take place are at the request of qualified, ready to buy decision makers who have already decided that they want to work with you.
How to Get in Front of Decision Makers – the easy way…
1. Focus on a specific niche because that automatically makes you a specialist and a certain authority.
2. Get known as an expert in your field by speaking at events and conferences populated by your target audience, write articles and get them published in trade publications read by your target audience.
3. At the end of your article or talk offer a giveaway such as a free report that conveys your expertise, and provides valuable useful content to your reader. Give this in exchange for the reader’s contact details and permission to stay in touch over time.
4. Send a follow up sequence of messages (automated if possible) that drip feeds further valuable content to your prospect, and subtly conveys your expertise, your authority and lets them know about success stories other clients are having.
5. Resist the temptation to ask for a meeting immediately, the people who are really keen to meet you will call and ask anyway, the others may need more time to get to know you. Don’t risk scaring them off by pouncing for a meeting immediately. Being ‘needy’ for a meeting hurts your credibility too, because in the world of selling professional services, there’s an unspoken assumption that if you are any good at what you are doing, then your diary should automatically be full (I know that’s not how it works in practice, but that’s the bias you’re up against!)
6. Offer a meeting, in at least one of your messages, but make sure you outline all the potential benefits of meeting with you. It’s got to be more inspiring than ‘free consultation.’ Ask yourself, what does the prospect stand to gain from meeting with you – even if he or she DOESN’T become a client immediately? Will they learn something new, get reassurance, have their awareness raised on a certain area? If you want to ‘sell the meeting’ you have to sell the benefits of the meeting.
7. Follow up: Some people will respond immediately, others will need more time. Have a regular follow up (such as a newsletter) that keeps you in contact, and continues building the relationship with your prospects.
8. Get used to receiving calls from people along the lines of ‘we’re thinking of doing a new project a we’re wondering how you can help us’. Enjoy meetings which have a completely different dynamic from the meetings you secured via cold calling, because you’ve been invited in as an expert, and the prospect is already ‘pre-sold’ and wants to work with you. Notice that your conversion rate is higher at these meetings.
9. Tweak the process: If you’re not getting enough meetings, what needs to change? Do you need to get more people into your funnel at the front end, or do you need to improve your conversion process of prospects to meetings?
10. Enjoy the process as momentum builds and the ‘snowball effect’ kicks in. Enjoy being a ‘Client Magnet’ and able to pick and choose from a tempting array of potential projects.
Because of the steps involved in laying the foundation, many people shy away from the easy way. It seems like there is too much ground work involved! And maybe there is, in the short term, but you are laying a foundation that will continue to reap rewards over and over. And what’s the alternative? Another cold call?
If you don’t want to be at the mercy of random projects coming your way, and you don’t want to be tied to a desk cold calling for the rest of your life, then this is definitely a way forward.