Article 1 – Start Before Your First Call

This is one article in a series. For the entire series on one page, please see Proven Enterprise Sales Process, Steps 1 to 10 inside this site's Blog Articles pages.
Excellence Essentials, 2016
Do you want to close more enterprise deals, more quickly, at prices that reflect your true value? You're not the first to ask. You've come to the right place.

Here you have the first of a series of 10 articles on how to increase your value to enterprise customers, value as *they* see it. With that you'll move complex deals to quicker closes. This process is based on original research, and has been tested and refined over several years. For complex sales, this is proven to work. Going by the results: When you apply the process and get through the step in Part 8, 95% of the enterprise sales close. And they close within days. This works partially because you are recognized to be delivering more value to your customer.

Each article in the series will take a step of the Enterprise Sales Process and explore it. And since the perception of value starts with the very first time you meet your prospect, the process starts *before* that first call happens. It starts when you choose the right first contact, not the easy one, so let's start there.

The Value Assumption

To cut the time to revenue, you are looking for a sponsor of influence. That should start with a key assumption: That you are here to add value to the customer, not just take his or her money.

That decision to add value to both should drive your plans for whom to call at the customer. The traditional contact may think that she or he should be deciding things, but often you would rather find a business person of real influence at the enterprise.

The recognition of your value as a contributor to your customer is not a function of how high you call. *Your value to the enterprise is a function of what you deliver that a key influencer recognizes as important.* It is not a function of the organization chart. The right person to call on is the one who can help you deliver value and exert influence to make your deal work. She or he will do that when it helps their agenda. Lets look at that a bit more.

Influence is Not Authority

Consider the difference between influence and authority. If you were to want to sell an idea to the U.S. government in Washington, would you look for authority or influence? Is there anyone higher in authority than the President of the United States? However, consider: The President is the commander of the most powerful army in the world, but can he or she get a budget passed?

In workshops we ask executives to identify the most influential people in Washington. The President never gets selected for this. Nor do the Speaker of the House or the leaders of the Senate. We know that the most influential people in the nation's capital don't always have the mantle of authority.

The same applies to your customers. If you would not count on President Obama to make your deal, why would you count on the CEO to make it? You wouldn't. You would go look for influence. In your sales cycle, you cannot have enough influence.

Who do you want? You want to find the right sponsor in the enterprise, and she or he should be a person with real influence who is willing to work to solve his or her own problem.

Looking for the Sponsors of Influence

Finding influence isn't easy. But with a few key indicators you can begin to identify who the most influential people will be.

First: Start with resources. Influencers are given access to time, people, and money to make things happen. Ask around and find who gets the resources inside the enterprise. Key assets flow silently from the least influential to the most influential managers and people. Follow them.

Second: Every organization has a few "go to" persons. These are the women and men that the enterprise relies on when the pressure is at the worst. If you watch top level sport you know who "go to" players are for a winning team. In your enterprise customer, ask who they might be.

Third: Many organizations have a successful manager or executive who is good at promoting the people around her or him. It makes for a very influential person. Ask around for this skill.

Finally: The most influential people are the ones who are known to be great listeners. Consider: When someone listens to you, do you tend to listen to him or her? If you can find the person who is known to listen you will probably find a key influencer.

By the way, when you become the person who listens *you* become a key influencer.

Pause before you pick up the phone and call the person with the most likely title. Make your point of entry into the enterprise the first step in searching for and finding a person with influence. Start here.

To Find the Key Influencers - Look For Who:
1 - Has the most people, the most time, the most money?
2 - Is the "go to" person?
3 - Is known to promote others?
4 - Is known to be a great listener?

Next: Where is your value going to get the most recognition?

Originally commissioned by and published in Excellence Essentials, Copyright 2016 by the Meyer Group, all rights reserved. To redistribute, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.