The very thought of cold calling the executive ranks presents a mental stumbling block to even the best of sales professionals. In private conversations sellers readily confess they have such respect for the chain of command that they will not violate the chain by going straight to the top. That one thought is a big problem.
Why is one little thought such a big deal? Because, gaining entry at a low-level and working your way up the organizational ladder of your prospect companies is the long road to get to where you want to go. The reason is that the people who sit in the jobs between you and executive-level decision makers have such a respect, even fear of the chain of command that they find it mentally impossible to help you make the climb. Do not be surprised to observe their inability to look one of those decision makers in the eye.
What is a seller to do?
Make the important commit to a paradigm shift in your thoughts. One small change in how you think will have a significant impact upon your ability to meet with executive-level decision makers. Shift your thoughts from seeing yourself as a not-so-valuable, low-level employee who must patiently work within the chain of command of your prospect companies to seeing yourself as a game changer, a valuable, high-level provider of business solutions that Top Dogs need to know. Acknowledge to yourself about yourself that you in fact are a Top Dog in your business arena that is appropriately placed in conversations with Top Dog decision makers.
As you make this mental shift, expect to feel uncomfortable. The faster you own the new way of thinking the faster your level of comfort will increase. I interviewed sales professionals who cold call executives as a matter of habit. The purpose of the interviews was to capture the very thoughts they think. There are more than a dozen beliefs they have that other sellers do not. Here are a few thoughts that determine whether a cold caller gets in to see top decision makers or is left out in the cold.
- I present powerful solutions for important business problems.
- I feel powerfully important.
- It is OK to feel powerfully important.
If you have convinced yourself that you must start at low levels of your prospects’ organizations and follow the chain of command to the top know this: you can convince yourself to go directly to the top. Better yet know this. The top is precisely where you belong.