[Posted by Louis Pine, December 21, 2015] Estimated Time to Read: 2 minutes, 37 seconds

When I reach out to a prospective client for a discovery call, the first point of contact is always the CEO. I say “the bigger the enterprise, the bigger the surf”. Executive decision makers are inundated with a number of requests for their time and are only able to prioritize the most meaningful of business conversations. We often find ourselves in the impact zone, picking up the phone and dialing the executive who handles the business aspect we want, but unable to engage at their level.

Decision makers only pick up 5-7% of the time; when they finally do, we often find the conversation falls short of what we hoped for or expected. In cold water, we need to equip ourselves with a wetsuit: a strategy that is going to get the results we need 100% of the time. Too cliché?

As we finish up the quarter, a key technique that has increased my team’s numbers to hit our monthly, quarterly, and yearly KPIs setting up first sale appointments for clients across essentially every vertical is using a top down approach to prospecting.

Setting up a first sale appointment is not Jordan Belfort’s “Stratton Oakmont” of penny stocks sales pitch, but a complex sell (an intangible business meeting) that requires the attention of multiple decision makers. These decision makers already have a “not interested” reply ready, even if they have not read the value proposition at hand.

What is a top down approach? A top down approach is reaching out to the highest level of the business hierarchy first prior to connecting with the VP or Director levels in the organization. Using this approach not only garners credibility and a sense of rapport to the prospects, but additionally picks up valuable intelligence which can be leveraged top-down (I.e. A successful black Friday, a recent merger or acquisition, or retirement).

We want to get our message across as seamlessly and effectively as possible. Believe it or not, our value proposition can catch a swell and land in the hands of the appropriate contact from one division to the next. After all, if it reduces costs, automates something, and/or optimizes something, we’re  already in pretty good shape.

A structured top down prospecting methodology ignites the discipline, enthusiasm, and activities necessary to know who to contact, how to contact them, what to say, how to say it, when to say it, how often to say it, and over what period of time to say it. By using this system, your team will surpass any other techniques on the market.

The results?  Sales dollars generated as a result of getting your value proposition in front of the right decision maker at the right time and more first sales appointments.

Over the past 3 years at FRONTLINE Selling (500+ meetings), I have had the pleasure of setting up appointments with C-level stakeholders so they can make crucial decisions that can impact their business. Although not new, a top down approach has helped countless sales executives build and maintain a strategic sales pipeline.

At this early stage, we need to shirt up before we can prospect.

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