You've done your homework, identified potential clients for your business, and obtained their contact information, but then one of the following situations occurs:
Your calls go unanswered.
No one is returning your calls or responding to your emails after you leave voicemails.
You cannot access the appointment setting with decision-makers because of the gatekeeper.
Undoubtedly, these problems are familiar, and they have long plagued seasoned salespeople trying to set up their initial face-to-face meetings with potential customers.
But worry not!
This step-by-step guide will teach you how to improve your outreach and raise your chances of landing those desired appointments.
Everything here is meant to increase your outreach efforts and organize more meetings with decision-makers.
Let's dive right in!
Who are Decision Makers, and Why Do You Need to Reach Them?
Having a decision maker speak with you as a new sales representative is a success.
Seasoned sales representatives understand the need to connect with these prospects much earlier in the sales process.
But who are these decision-makers?
Decision-makers are professionals with the authority to decide on important business decisions like investments, expansions, and acquisitions.
This list makes the most important reasons to talk to the main decision-maker early in the selling process.
1. Savings in Resources and Time
Saving time and effort is the main advantage of getting to the decision-maker early.
Many sales representatives begin their careers at the bottom of the organization, and as they advance closer to the top, they must continually market their products.
If you facilitate a single efficient selling process, think of the time you will save by going straight to the source.
You spend less time selling and less time on the phone and in meetings.
At some meetings, you can prepare and adjust your selling presentation materials.
While it's never a good idea to hear a NO, you can leave low-opportunity deals sooner if the top executive rejects you.
2. Determine Major Obstacles
The biggest barrier to closing a deal is early buyer objections.
Typically, lower-level employees need more authority to purchase on their own.
These individuals also tend to concentrate on the specifics of the good or service related to their jobs in the company, so they may only sometimes recognize the higher-level value you provide.
Decision makers can give you information about the pressing business problems they are facing and the challenges the best solution must overcome to achieve an optimal fit as you speak with them.
Understanding these obstacles lets you organize your selling strategy and presentation to confront them successfully.
3. More Achievement Selling Price
A company's decision-makers will typically purchase solutions for one of two reasons:
- Either they will experience cost savings or an increase in income due to your solution.
- Sometimes a solution can take care of both, significantly increasing profits.
You can acquire important insights into the kind of solution most beneficial when you ask insightful questions and fully understand the decision maker's business concerns.
Your capacity to provide a high-value solution that satisfies their needs and maximizes your profit will increase as you develop a broader and deeper understanding of the decision-maker.
How to Set Appointments with Decision Makers
You've discovered a potential customer who satisfies all of your needs and exceeds them.
Also, you're confident that if you could only get an appointment with their top executive, they would buy from you.
So what to do?
You could be tempted to simply pick up the phone and ask them for an appointment, but so many things could go wrong, and you want to save the chance.
To be well equipped to meet the decision-makers, research the company, determine your unique selling preposition (USP), create an ideal customer profile (ICP), and create an enriched prospect list as highlighted below.
Here are tips to help you succeed every time to set an appointment with the decision-makers.
1. Understand the Players
Quickly research the company's leadership structure, LinkedIn, and website.
This will assist you in identifying the decision-maker and give you more knowledge about the potential leadership dynamic and other people's influence on your purchasing choices.
A bonus point will be awarded if you identify potential gatekeepers during this research.
We'll talk more about them (gatekeepers) shortly.
2. Have a Planned Approach
Before contacting anyone, you must have a valid business reason (VBR).
Your VBR, which never centers on you, your product, your price, or even your brilliant ideas, is why they should want to talk to you right now.
Here is a scenario;
Suppose your ideas are irrelevant to them. They will turn you down.
In scenario 2, you can try and solve a problem.
If they are interested in finding solutions to their problems, the answer will be yes.
In case your calls reach the invoice box, be precise.
3. Be Seen by Observing. Behave as If You Belong There
Use the How to Become a Socialite manual as a model.
Place yourself where people will see you, then act as if you belong there.
The idea behind this is that when you call, they will only accept you if they are familiar with your name, and it can also help establish some credibility.
Start interacting with them in an appropriate but entirely non-salesy, just an expert passing-through manner if they have Twitter or LinkedIn.
Statistics from Rain Group Research show that 82% of buyers check up on the seller on LinkedIn before accepting a meeting.
Therefore, follow them and include them on a commendable list, such as x Industry Thought Leaders Commence retweeting and responding to their posts.
Sign up for some of the groups they belong to.
Likewise, look for any connections you may share.
4. Get Past the Gatekeepers
Gatekeepers are low-level workers who guard the important time of decision-makers.
They are employed in administrative positions.
When making appointments, you must encounter gatekeepers, but remember that they are not your adversaries.
The first step is to politely inquire who you should be speaking to and briefly explain why you are calling because these staff screen dozens to hundreds of calls daily. Consider this:
“Who is in charge of the sales department in your company?"
Even if the gatekeepers inquire about your product, avoid pitching it to them and refrain from using a call script. (More details on this are provided below.)
Stick to a brief value pitch; otherwise, they may object again, and you may not get the move.
Last, remember that these workers frequently have good connections inside their organizations.
As you fill out the account in your database, note their names and use their assistance in locating the appropriate contacts.
Since this hurdle can overturn your selling dream, here are more hacks to get past gatekeepers.
Maintain Respect for the Gatekeepers
- Gatekeepers just want to work.
- Respect their time and treat them as your prospects.
- Did you know that knowing the company and gatekeeper increases your chances of connecting?
- Research the gatekeeper on LinkedIn.
- But can you use a shared interest as an icebreaker?
- Check their profile.
- Utilize background information to show the gatekeeper that you understand the decision-maker and that your solution will help them.
- Review the company's social media.
- Did they finish funding?
- Congratulate them.
- Did they have a leadership change? Tell them you're eager to see their accomplishments.
- Of course, thank them, use their first name, and remind them how important their job is. Good manners build rapport.
Be Honest with Gatekeepers
- Lying to gatekeepers makes your work more challenging.
- Lead confidently and tell them your call is to explore a solution with them.
- So if you're going to fabricate a small white lie, be sure you can prove it.
- For instance, try emailing the decision maker (DM) with the call to action (CTA); I'll call you tomorrow at noon to discuss this more.
- Maintain your confidence and friendliness, but if they ask you a straight question, such as "Is this a sales call?" be honest.
- Inform them that you have spoken with the prospective client and are calling because you genuinely believe you can benefit their business.
Avoid Attempting to Sell to the Gatekeeper
- If someone asks, "What is this call about?" avoid launching into your sales presentation.
- Gatekeepers are not your target audience and have no desire to use your goods or service.
- Yet, that does not imply you should end the conversation right there.
- Include any past communications you may have had with the decision-maker, and try to elicit as much extra information as possible.
- The greatest time to call or even check a (*cough* made-up) email address is at some point.
Call a Different Department
- Keep in mind that not all departments or prospects have a gatekeeper.
- Human Resources is another incredibly beneficial department because they are familiar with every employee.
- Thus, call HR if you're seeking a prospect's contact information and need help finding their phone number elsewhere.
- The sales department is also always eager to answer the phone.
- You can acquire a phone number or a reference if you establish relationships with other salespeople.
5. Personas Beyond Gatekeepers
A sale is not guaranteed by getting past the gatekeeper, and you can even be engaging with the wrong individual in some circumstances.
Below are details of the prospects that the gatekeeper might introduce to you:
- The Decision Maker
This is often a member of the C-suite, the person who signs the check, reassigns funds without consulting anyone, and says yes without hesitation.
In some situations, they may even carry out their research on the potential answers.
The decision-maker frequently delegates the sales process to a different type of prospect — the influencer— until it gets farther along.
Work with the influencer in this situation, but remember to involve the decision-maker.
Show them you're happy to work with their staff and follow up with them frequently.
- The Influencer
The influencer is typically a junior-level employee tasked with researching options before receiving a briefing from their supervisor.
Even when they lack the resources or the power to make a final decision, they can sway the decision-maker.
Most of the time, the influencer is your main point of contact within the company, and they will bring in the right people (like IT or finance) as needed during the sales process.
- The Self-proclaimed Decision Maker
To determine precisely how much power an influencer has within the company, find out how frequently they meet with the CEO.
They might not be worth your attention if they aren't meeting with the leadership frequently.
Also, you should learn about the additional solutions they implemented at the business and how the procedure functioned.
Consider seeking a different contact if they are yet to previously sourced solutions.
Salespeople often define a decision-maker differently than the prospect, which might be problematic.
Because they are choosing what to suggest to the C-suite, the prospect sees themselves as the decision-maker.
Indeed, the recommender is this individual.
The prospect is not being dishonest in this situation.
Don't discount the recommender because they are crucial to closing the deal.
Discover the purpose of their search for a solution and the source of their request.
Who makes the decisions will be shown by their response.
- The Blocker
Frequently, the blocker possesses all the traits of an influencer.
They are your main contact within the company, are junior or mid-level, and are responsible for their team's or organization's solution-seeking.
But, eventually, the call blocker will stop returning your calls.
The deal will stall, and no one will read your emails. The blocker is an expert at ghosting—what they do best.
Try to determine when it's ok to leave the firm and when it's just as appropriate to look for a new lead there.
If you believe you are speaking with a blocker and feel that someone else in the company should hear what you say, do your homework.
See when a pertinent team member begins by keeping track of the company's hiring on LinkedIn.
Once you've done that, contact them to see if they'd like to learn more about your solution.
Establish a connection with a senior executive and use that as leverage to persuade someone new to join you.
6. Take the Necessary Steps
Consider whether you truly know who you're calling and how you can help them before making the call and going for the gold.
The following phase is to research your prospects and their business.
You can reach the correct individuals by mapping out an organization, but you'll need access to sales intelligence.
We're referring to tools for sales engagement and contact databases.
These tools can provide you with information like this:
- Direct-dial phone numbers
- Confirmed email addresses
- Opportunity insights
- Company demographics
- Tech stacks
Getting help to perform the heavy lifting can save time and money and make your job easier.
Understanding your audience, informed with insights from your appointment setting KPIs, will come in handy before going out to reach the decision-makers. In so doing, you can know how to approach your potential prospects by identifying those that respond best.
7. Make Each Minute Count
When you manage to get that decision-maker on the phone, remember that they have already had a long day of meetings, appearances, phone calls, and putting out fires; you are just one more chore, luckily made it into their list.
What are some ways to make yourself stand out, then?
- Recognize and Pay Attention to Their Needs
Refrain from talking yourself out of a deal.
Ask inquiries, pay attention to the requirements and worries of your prospect, and be human before offering a solution.
Focus on how your product might meet their needs rather than trying to sell them something they don't want to buy.
- It's Important to Be Prepared
Who wants to pay money to a disorganized person?
Before calling prospects to convince them to give you The Golden Ticket, gather your customized script and any research or audience segmentation data.
- Organize your Objectives
Never discount a potential customer's worries.
Planning becomes useful in this situation. Use your data to demonstrate why your product is the best.
When someone claims they cannot afford your service, prove to them that they cannot afford not to use it by illustrating how it will increase their earnings.
- Tell and Show
Examples that are too general no longer qualify.
Statistics show that 85% of buyers prefer a knowledgeable salesperson.
Therefore, do not simply state that your product is effective; instead, say something like, "Our product substantially lowered X times for our clients by upwards of 90%.
Put it another way: provide a pitch highlighting your solution and its outcomes.
It's advisable to have as many stats as possible.
Referrals make 84% of B2B purchases.
Why work with a stranger when your colleague's neighbor's boss can connect you on LinkedIn? CEOs wonder too.
Trust is strange—use it!
Networking secures prospect meetings. LinkedIn speeds decision-maker outreach.
It lets you effortlessly reach prospects and explore their networks.
If you run in similar circles, someone may know you’re a perfect decision-maker.
Share your offerings with your network—you never know who they might know.
Referrals can expedite decision-maker appointments. Don't lose money to competitors.
The time you contact prospects affects your chances of getting past the gatekeeper and reaching the decision-maker.
If you have the prospect's direct number or their office line, call them during off-hours.
Tip #1: Call Early in the Morning
Unlike gatekeepers, business executives work irregular hours.
You're more likely to get past the gatekeeper if you phone between 7:30 and 9 am when C-suites prepare their day before meetings.
Tip #2: Call Later in the Day
The gatekeeper is easiest to get past after business hours.
According to HubSpot, the optimal time to call is between 4:00 pm and 5:00 p.m., after decision-makers have finished their meetings and are catching up on emails and paperwork.
Each C-suite has a varied schedule and workday, and appropriate calling hours vary by industry and company. Try phoning various prospects at different times.
Getting appointments with decision-makers is, thus, an essential component of any effective company strategy.
You can improve your chances of getting those sought-after meetings and expanding your business by implementing the tried-and-true methods and ideas in this thorough guide.
We are aware, nevertheless, that scheduling appointments with decision-makers may be a time-consuming and difficult task that diverts attention from your primary area of business.
For this reason, we recommend outsourcing appointment settings service to AI bees.
With the help of our cutting-edge AI technology, you may save time and money as you secure meetings with decision-makers and expand your business.
Contact us immediately to see how AI bees can help you speed up the appointment-setting process and expand your business.