Awards & Engraving

November '19

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of people on the prospect's side, as well. Sometimes, the lead salesperson may not hit it off with one of the decision-makers, but another member of your sales team may share common interests or similar backgrounds with that person. ONCE YOU SET SAIL, IT'S GO TIME One of the most spirited debates among salespeople circles around where in a large prospective customer's organizational chart initial contact ought to be made. Some believe the point of entry should be as high up in the organization as is accessible. Others prefer a path of least resistance — anyone who will grant them an appoint- ment — and work their way up the chain of command. Since this particular dialogue has been raging for years with no consensus, most sales professionals can agree that "it doesn't matter where you start, it's where you finish." Hopefully, that point is across the decision-maker's desk with a signed purchase order in hand. Here's where getting a third party to introduce you to the target prospect works best. Perhaps one of your current customers has a great relationship with their counterpart or a key person at the prospect account. Ask your client if he/she is willing to "grease the skids" to set up an initial appointment. SOME FINAL THOUGHTS If you get the sense that your large pros- pect will conduct a request for proposal (RFP) — or something similar, such as request for quotation (RFQ) or formal bid — ask if you can assist them in writing the bid specifications. It is a proven fact that over 70% of the time, the successful bidder has already been decided before the RFP/RFQ/bid hits the street. If you are given the opportunity to help write the bid specifications, maybe you can get them to include some aspect of your shop that no one else — or few others — can duplicate and deliver. Finally, when you align your company with a client's growth, success, and prof- itability, you will be less likely to be cut during tough times. This alignment starts by making a memorable impression with the movers and shakers in the prospect account. Consider that if you are fortunate enough to strike a memorable chord with a big business executive, the odds that you will be introduced to and meet with other key contacts throughout the organization are good. If you want to improve your batting average in landing appreciative, loyal, quality customers, learn to become com- fortable with calling at the top. Happy fishing and good luck! A&E 16 • A&E NOVEMBER 2019

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