The Art of Gaining Access
There are so many variables that come into play when you go after companies and individuals to gain access. These include tenacity, persistence, referrals, creativity, connections, and so much more. But the one that seems to be the determining factor for not only gaining access, but also closing the business is a deep-seated belief in the value that you bring. Here are three ways to convey that value.
Jump start your confidence
Action is always the kick start of any type of confidence. Any action. Even if it's not the right action you can review and adjust for the next attempt. Sure, planning and research help create a strategy that will reduce the risk but nothing, and I mean nothing will take the place of action. It clarifies the truth and many times erases what is put on paper and held in the minds of people who feel there is only one way. When your goal is to gain access by phone or face-to-face you have to be at the top of your game. Your voice inflection on the phone and your body language in person speaks volumes on the outcome of that call. There are simple things that can be done to put you in the right frame of mind. I might choose to read a passage from a favorite book that inspires me at the start of the day or call several clients, friends or business associates that I have a great relationship with to start the calls off on a positive note.
Have you ever experienced a call where you spoke truly from your heart...no mind? This may sound like a disaster waiting to happen, but your knowledge and core values have to be built prior to the event. All of your previous training, learning, experience and education have to be ongoing to enable you to let go when you're in the act of pursuing. The prospect will see who you really are and hesitation won't question their insights into your character. I remember many times when I was sparring in martial arts that my actions had to come from an unconscious reaction to my opponent's moves. The moment I thought about their kick or strike I lost. There is no difference during your calls with your prospects and customers. To build trust they must see your true mind. When you hesitate, you lose. As Yogi Berra once asked, "How can you think and hit at the same time?"
Learn what works for them
To gain access, you need to have a deep understanding of a client's business, goals, challenges, and passions. When you're working on accounts that have a high ticket product or service or require a longer sales cycle you might have many meetings before closing. It's during this relationship building stages that you're talking to other departments within your prospect's company to gain a better insight into the bigger picture of how that company works. Many times I will get permission to interview some of their customers, which often tells me a great deal about the company from a whole different perspective. Sometimes it's as simple as learning about your prospect's passion at work or outside hobbies and connecting when you both have something in common.
But the bottom line is having a real solution that will have a big impact on their company and bottom line results. If at anytime I do not believe that what I'm selling will make a difference to a potential client, I will move on. There are relationships that have taken many years to build and the moment they see you presenting ideas that seem to benefit only your pocket you will lose their trust.
There are so many situations I've encountered when I would be in the middle of investigating if the customer would benefit from my services and realized that I had a contact that would be a better asset for this person at this point of the deal. After I made the introduction I know I left the relationship much better off then if I forced a proposal that wasn't in the best interest of the client. I usually got business from them in the future or referrals to some of their contacts. Never be afraid to walk away when you know it's the right thing to do and having lots of opportunities in front of you from all the action you've taken in step #1 will give you that confidence. As Tomp Stoppard once said, "Every exit is an entry somewhere else."