We all have on our prospect list an A-List name that we’ve been unable to reach. This prospective client sits in the C-Suite and holds the promise of green-lighting a big payday for you. It’s frustrating when you can’t get added to your A-List prospect’s calendar. Nevertheless, there is nearly always a way to make a good impression, present yourself as useful and score a highly coveted meeting with an elusive decision-maker. Good luck and timing will be factors, but they will be aided by your ingenuity.
If you have not yet met your prospect, then you must arrange an introduction. Personal introductions are more effective than self-introductions and an introduction made by someone who is trusted by the prospect will be the most effective.
Tap your LinkedIn connections and investigate also the connections of your connections. It is a tedious process, but you may discover a shared connection who could arrange to introduce you to your prospect. Conduct an internet search to find out what has been written about the prospect. You may learn that this individual sits on a board where you have a friend who can facilitate an introduction. Or, you may learn that your A-List will present or moderate a panel at a local conference.
If the latter is the case, then you will attend the program. Take notes at the presentation and ask a good question. After the talk, follow-up and speak with the prospect. Your smart question will serve as a clever ice-breaker that will give you credibility and greatly improve your chance of getting a meeting.
Before you propose a meeting, consider how you can demonstrate that you will bring value to your prospect and that the meeting will not be perceived as being all about you. Your prospect is a C-Suite dweller who has many demands on his/her time. To earn a sliver of that time, it can only be helpful to discover subjects that may resonate with your A-List and guide your talking points.
Search for news about his/her company and articles that your prospect may have authored or in which s/he was quoted. You might also read the company’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. Remember to visit the company website and find out if any interesting news has been posted. If you found that your A-List has authored an article or book, or that s/he has been quoted, then be sure to note that. When you demonstrate that you’ve done your homework, s/he will be much more likely to agree to meet with you, however briefly.
Offer to buy coffee or a quick breakfast and state what you’d like to discuss. Ask for 30 minutes of time. If you learn that the prospect is on the way to another meeting, offer a ride if you have a car and get another chance to not just talk, but build a relationship.
Twenty-four hours after the meeting, send written thanks. An email may suffice, but if the meeting was especially productive, then send a short hand-written note on your company stationery or in a small note card that appears business-like. Re-confirm any agreed-up actions and the time-table. No matter the outcome of the meeting, use the encounter to build the foundation for a lasting business relationship.
Thanks for reading,
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