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Call at the top...wherever that is.


Call the CEO first.  That’s usually good advice.  But calling the CEO is not always the best place to start.  A lot of who and where you start calling depends on the size of the company.  If you’re calling on a Fortune 50 company and you’re selling a $2,500 product, the CEO is not the right place to start.  (Unless the minimum order, at this price, is quantity 100.) 

So, where is the right place to start?  If so, start with the person who will sign your order without having to get permission from the CEO or CFO.  

Many department heads or VP’s have signing authority. Then that might the right place to start.  If you call the person who has nothing to do with evaluating your product either they or their admin will tell you who the right person is for you to call.  Call that person and say, “Hi Tom, Kathy Whistley’s office told me to call you in regards to <your product>.”  What they will hear is: “Your boss told me to call you and you'd better listen to me.”  You keep going until you hit the person who will recommend your product.

When it is time for your recommender to buy, the people above that person will already be familiar with you.  Make sure you say the following to the people who are referring you:  “Thank you for pointing me in the right direction, Kathy.  <Your product> will be great for the Whistley Group.  Would you like me to keep you in the loop as the conversation with <whoever they refer you to> continues?”  Now you have an open line of communication with the person at the top.

Sales Homework
– Starting today, determine who has the top position at the companies that buy your product.

Sales Managers – Don’t let your sales reps get suckered into thinking they always have to call the CEO.  Sometimes they or you do.  Sometimes it’s not the right place to start.   Read more...

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