8 Tips to Score a Meeting with a Top Executive

If you enjoy our Friday shows “Laugh and Learn” featuring the Fearless Competitor, you really won’t want to miss HubSpotTV on November 19th at 4:00pm. We’ll be taking the Fearless Competitor to that live online show. Hope you can join us.

I actually starting writing this for our other blog, the B2B Sales Lounge. But it is such an important article, we decided to use it here too.

In my opinion, this is one of the top challenges facing salespeople today. Let’s say you are give a handful of major account to crack. Let’s say IBM is on your list. If so, this might be the man with whom you need to meet. (This is the real guy. by the way. I lo0ked him up.)

Jon C. Iwata

Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications


How do you get a meeting with Jon? Certainly, picking up the phone and cold calling have virtually no chance of success. A busy executive never meets with a total stranger. But you need this meeting. So what can you do?

What we recommend is that you patiently and gently earn his trust before you contact him. Here are 8 things you can do to gently connect with him and begin to earn his trust.

  1. Does he write a blog? If so, post a comment.
  2. Is he on Twitter? Follow him. Learn what he tweets.
  3. What do you have in common? Schools, employers, residence, church, etc.
  4. Send him an interesting article with a hand written note.
  5. Follow IBM on Linkedin
  6. Follow IBM on Facebook
  7. Attend an event at which he is speaking
  8. If you do call, be very, very gentle. You are not selling. Bond with his assistant and be very patient.

The key is to be patient, customer focused and gentle. Over time, you earn trust.

What do you think? Do you have other suggestions - we’d love to hear them. And we love to read your comments and invite you to share this on social networks.

Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor, is President of Fun and Find New CustomersLead Generation Made Simple” Check out the online show every Friday at 11am ET, “Laugh and Learn with the Fearless Competitor.”

Find New Customers helps businesses develop and implement demand generation programs to improve the way they find and acquire sales leads using best practices in lead generation.

“Find New Customers, can certainly help your business dramatically improve the flow of sales-ready leads to salespeople.” Paul Dunay, Buzz Marketing for Technology.

Time of day segmentation

Great post by Mike Damphousse of Green-Leads on time of day.  Here’s the link http://www.green-leads.com/b2b-blog/bid/26863/Lead-Generation-Tips-Take-3-Hour-Lunches

There were days in my lead gen life where I could have easily left for lunch and not come back for four hours. MIT data shows that that might have been a good idea!

Gerhard Gschwandtner of Selling Power just highlighted last year’s MIT / InsideSales.com study of outbound prospecting lead conversion. The report details such information as the right time of day to call, the best day of the week, how the response time to a lead impacts conversion, etc.

It got me thinking. For many reps, unless territory comes into play, lead gen exists in a three-time-zone map. For years we’ve been able to sort our lists by time zone, but what if we could tune it even further and optimize the effectiveness our day using the MIT stats?

Layer the times together and stagger them for time zone. Due to the East coast and West coast being predominant in our targeting, we tend to call 40% ET, 40% PT, and 20% CT/MT, so to simplify the discussion, I’ve just shown ET and PT. The timeline at the bottom is on Eastern time.

The chart shows that to maximize their production, East Coach-based reps targeting both coasts during the prime times for each time zone and assuming an 8-hour day, should be working from:

  • Target East Coast 8 am - 10 am
  • Target West Coast 11 am - 1 pm
  • Target East Coast 4 pm - 6 pm
  • Target West Coast 6 pm - 8 pm

For strategic planning purposes, this justifies bi-coastal teams. It also suggests a shift in activity during the day. Make the prime times the power-dial sessions, and make the lulls the time where research and other non-dialing activity is completed.

So the next time you run late returning from lunch, show this report to your boss and keep dialing.

Jeff Ogden is the Fearless Competitor and President of Find New Customers. Lead Generation Made Simple.  Find New Customers helps companies implement best practices lead generation programs to find and acquire new customers for their businesses.

Improve your connect rates

Great post by Jim Burns, CEO of Avitage on a problem faced by many businesses.  Email is cheap and easy but it’s effectiveness is very, very low.  How can we improve its effectiveness?

In this post Jim explains how businesses might use phone, email and video together to build trusted relationships and more sales-ready leads.  I highly recommend business leaders read it.

Improve your connect rates

Calling on senior executives

Every sales manager I’ve ever talked to asks the same thing. “I want my salespeople to call on senior executives.” They call too low. Why call high?

  • That is where the big dollar decisions are made.
  • That is where the political power lies.
  • That is where deals get done.

    But the unfortunate reality is this:

CxO’s have zero interest in talking to your salespeople.

Why is it the case? There is a fundamental disconnect:

  1. Most salespeople know the product, the features, and the benefits.
  2. CxO’s care none about the product. They are busy, highly protective of their time, and care only about their business and career.

So salespeople talk product while senior executive talk about their business. What do we do about it? Slow down.

First, we’ve got to stop taking shortcuts. We have to know enough to get in. Study their web site. Read their 10-K. Read the bios of their executives. Talk to their salespeople and customers. Speak to a remote division. This will give you the inside information that every CxO wants to hear.

Second, ask yourself “If I was Mr. or Ms. CEO, why would I want to talk to you?” Keep in mind that you will be talking to voicemail and executive assistants — so prepare for these. Plan your voicemails (see an earlier posting for examples) and gently talk to the assistant.

Third, be patient. CxO’s are busy. If you leave a message, it will get heard. If you talk to an executive assistant — she is the CxO. Wait a week. Send an email. Wait. Be patient and creative.

Fourth, get your ears on and watch behavior. Did they open your email? Did they visit your website? Did they download a white paper? Take a look at this website. Digital Body Language.

Good luck and good selling, dear readers.