Do you ever wonder why some sellers can get the “hard to get” prospect meetings and others can’t? I asked Caryn Kopp, corporate door-opener extraordinaire. Her group of “for hire” business developers are known for getting meetings others can’t get.

Here are her top secrets:

1. Personalization counts

Decision makers don’t appreciate receiving the same email as 100 other prospects. That’s right, they know. Customizing is time-consuming but worth it. Here are three steps:

a) Answer. Who are you? What do you do? Why does what you do really matter to the decision maker? Few sellers take the extra time to think about and articulate the response to the third question. Those who do win meetings.
b) Research. Answer “why does it matter?” via web searching. Search for prospect news, press releases, quarterly reports, LinkedIn profiles/announcements to find the most compelling angle.
c) Tailor. Take the angle you just uncovered and use it to wrap “who you are” around “why it’s important” for your prospect to meet you.
a. Example: “I noticed (insert angle uncovered) and it prompted me to connect with you to talk about (insert how what you do can help).”
b. Practice your delivery. If you’re sending an email, proof it three times to ensure it is error free.

2. Stop wasting time on prospects less likely to say “yes”

Be choosy. Have laser focus on only those companies who will say, “I can’t believe we didn’t meet 6 months ago. I need you; let’s start!” Can’t find the right decision maker within the company? Speak with C-level assistants; they have the skinny. Receptionists are trained to tell you nothing.

Analyze your best customers. What’s in common? Why did they say yes to you? Review your prospects. Do they all meet your “best customer” criteria? If so, they’re on your “A” list and worth pursuing. If not, move them to your “B” list.

3. Call on Sunday night

A Sunday night voicemail asking your decision maker to give his/her assistant permission to add you to the calendar works like a charm. Monday morning call the assistant and take the next steps. Try it!

4. Email only does half the job; 50 percent is an “F”

Without your voice, the human relationship is absent. If you’re relying on email alone to start a relationship you’ll likely come up short. Voicemail & email combo is what works. Build your story over time and vary your message.

5. Persistence wins

90 percent of sellers give up by the third contact while 86 percent of sales are made after the fifth. Stop handing sales to your competition. Non- response doesn’t mean lack of interest. People are busy. Maintain balance amongst the three Ps: Persistence with Patience without Pissing Someone Off.

When reaching prospects after several respectful, content-rich tries they often say, “You must really want my business if you’re trying this hard.” Or “I’m sorry I haven’t called you back, you’ve been on my list but I’ve been swamped.” Hang in there…your competition won’t.

Remember, your goal is to build intrigue, pique interest and lay the foundation for a solid relationship. Happy door opening!

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com or Visa.
Published on: Sep 29, 2014