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There really isn’t one trick or secret that will make you into a great salesperson. As long as you learn the sales process, are able to listen well, communicate your value proposition effectively, then follow-up, you’re going to succeed. But if there’s one thing that can make all of the difference in sales, it is getting in front of as many prospects as possible. It’s not rocket science; the more people you pitch, the higher the chances of getting yourself a deal.

But getting in touch with the right people, and getting them to take the time to listen to what you have to say isn’t as simple as it might seem. Decision makers’ inboxes are flooded with messages from salespeople looking to make contact, and intense competition can make it challenging to get a meeting.

In order to help you, we’ve come up with five tips to help you get a meeting with (almost) anyone. Here they are:

1. Customize every single time

If you want to get meetings with sought-after prospects, you absolutely cannot use standard email or phone call templates to reach them. Not only are these messages typically transparently generic, but they simply aren’t effective enough for an important prospect.

Do research on the person you’re trying to reach and custom tailor the message to them and to whatever’s happening in their universe. For instance, if you’re trying to reach a CEO – find some recent articles on their accomplishments, whether it’s raising a round of funding, or closing a high-profile deal, and make a reference to it in your message. Always try to do this authentically, without being patronizing or fake – people are always able to tell.

2. Stand out

You have to get noticed if you want to book important meetings, so you need to figure out a way to stand out from everybody else. Customization of messages is important, but if you’re able to make the message truly unique and different, then your chances of getting some face time will go up dramatically.

People have done everything from sending customized gifts, to filming video messages, to taking out entire full-page ads in magazines that their prospects are known to read. Of course, your budget might stand in the way of some of these tactics, but  you need to leave your shyness at the door and be ready to do something unique and attention-grabbing if you want to have extraordinary results.

3. Offer something of value

No one is going to care much about what you have to say if they don’t know how you can help them. For instance, since I run Sales Humor, social media accounts with over 800,000 fans, I always include that figure when reaching out to anyone in the sales space that I’m looking to work with. Almost always, I will get a response because those numbers are compelling to potential partners/publishers.

You need to do the same thing. What is it that makes you, your company, and your current offering a compelling fit for the prospect? How can you help them? Always consider that when reaching out, and make sure to tailor the message and make the picture you’re painting as enticing as humanly possible. Make it feel like not responding to you would be a huge missed opportunity.

4. Befriend the gatekeeper

It might feel like the gatekeeper is an adversary who is there to prevent you from reaching the prospect, but that is the wrong way to look at it. In the famous sales movie Wall Street, Bud Fox called Gordon Gekko’s secretary every single day for a 100 days straight, so when he finally showed up at Gekko’s offices for his birthday with a box of Cuban cigars, she actually let him in to see Gekko.

Fictional movies aside, it’s important to build rapport with the gatekeeper, usually a secretary or executive assistant, to improve your chances of getting a meeting. Gatekeepers are there to screen and weed out distractions, but they’re also there to help identify important calls and opportunities. If you can position yourself as the latter, you’ll be one step closer to striking gold.

5. Make it clear what you’re asking for

If you do a few (or all) of the above, then you’ll probably get someone on the phone. But once you have them, it’s important that you’re ready with a plan of what to say. Make sure you know what you’re asking for, whether it’s asking for a meeting, or with the actual pitch. Don’t go into it without a plan, or with an open-ended strategy.

Just like your monthly goal, you need to make sure you have a goal for the call. A great goal is to set a meeting with the prospect you’re after. As long as you’re prepared for the call and have an desired outcome in mind, you’ll have done everything possibly to get the deal done.

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About the Author Ken Kupchik

Ken Kupchik is the creator of Sales Humor and the author of the funniest sales book ever written, The Sales Survival Handbook, which you can order on Amazon.com. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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