One of my CEO coaching clients attends a monthly networking event that attracts a lot of decision influencers but not a lot of CEOs. We were discussing how she can leverage the contacts she’s making so that she can eventually connect with the decision makers (either the CEO, or head of the division she supports).
Here are some guidelines for leveraging every contact that works for a potential client:
1: Come to every conversation with an open mind, and an intention to connect with a like-minded professional. We never know the influence another person holds, and we never know the network that another person has cultivated.
2: Once you have connected with someone, regardless of title, show consideration and respect with appropriate follow-up.
3: Connect with your new contact on Linked In with a custom note mentioning where you met.
4: If they work for a company that is a high-priority prospect, do some research to learn who else in their company you would like to meet. They are likely a part of your contact’s Linked In network. If they aren’t you may have to do additional Linked In legwork to get the contact names.
5: Once you’ve identified who you want to meet, and you can articulate the value you can provide to this person, ask your new contact for a 15-minute call. (I coach my clients on the scripts to use to connect in a way that always demonstrates value and appreciation).
6: On this call, demonstrate that you have done your research. Clearly communicate why you would like their assistance in reaching additional decision makers. Often I get calls from telemarketers who ask, “Are you the decision maker in your company?” I’ve always wondered how it would make a “non-decision-maker” feel to hear that question. Never underestimate the influence a single person can have in an organization… negative or positive.
7: Help your contact help you. In other words, coach your contact on what to say via email or phone when they reach out to your desired contact. I am often asked to make introductions between my contacts. I always ask the initiator to send me an email with the exact message they want me to convey. This way, I never get it wrong. I ask my contact to help me make a successful introduction.
8: Never forget the “roots” of your client relationship. Who introduced you to your buyer? Who was instrumental in helping you get on the radar of a decision maker so that you could build your relationship? Take time to acknowledge them and thank them.
9: Ask your contact how you can help them. There is likely someone in your network they would like to meet. Extend the same consideration. Or, thank them with a gift. I have closed many coaching clients because of referrals, and I always send a thank-you gift.
10: Stay humble. One of my most important mentors/advisors, who has more quality business relationships than anyone I know, always says to work a relationship from both the top down, and the bottom up. Remember that those just starting out will likely be at the top of somewhere one day. They will always remember who treated them with respect.
Your Call To Action
Do you need help navigating a complex prospect? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a skype call. We can brainstorm some ways you can get to your economic buyer/decision maker.
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