I'm with you, in recent years it's been tougher and tougher to get through to DM's (decision makers) to schedule that first appointment. In some cases it's taken me a hundred plus calls and many years of trying to get the DM on the phone. The good thing about the 100 plus calls is that by the time I do get the DM on the phone they definitely know what I'm calling about.
Gatekeepers are better than ever, and the thought of potential phone scams keep them vigilant in their quest to not let you through.
There's much talk in sales about building relationships and that's all well and good as long as you can make contact with the DM. You can't start or build that relationship until you've made first contact.
You can't sell everyone is something you always here in sales, and I believe it's the same for building relationships. Not everyone you meet or greet is going to want to build a business relationship. Thus it's the numbers game that can really increase your opportunities and your potential business relationships.
So where are your best sales people after 5PM?
1) They're still out in the field making cold calls! One thing that I've noticed is that many gatekeeper leave in between 4:30PM - 5PM. If you're in the field making calls after 5PM, it's a good shot the doors will still be open. Most likely you'll trip over the DM as you scout your way around the office to find someone.
Instead of starting your day at 8AM. Why not start your day at 9AM and work still 6PM, with the last two hours of the day dedicated to calling on those that you can't land the DM on the phone. It makes sense right?
2) Other sales peeps are attending and working at charity events. There's nothing better than meeting that influential person while they're volunteering their time for a great cause. Remember the six foot question? That's when you get within six feet of someone that you strike up a conversation and one of your questions is "where do work"? Of course then continue the conversation asking about what their roll is within that company.
3) Still at their desk or parked in a parking (by the beach) lot trying to squeeze in a couple of extra calls on their cell phones after 5PM. You just never know who will pick up the phone. Think, if this were your business, wouldn't you be working whenever and wherever you can?
4) Continuing their education with reading sales books and or learning more about their industry. The web is a great tool because it's open 24 hours a day. It's those rainy weekends that can give you a great kickstart to the week. Been there and done that.
5) Continuing education not for sales people but for Professionals such as attorneys, architects, engineers, surveyors. Each month these associations meet to deliver educational courses to their members so that they can stay up to date for state requirements. Most associations will accept speakers (as long as they pay for booze or dinner) allow you to speak for 15 minutes and maybe have a small table.
6) Some are even sending emails late into the night. Can't sleep, nothing will get a DM's attention more than an email sent at 2AM. That DM can only wish they had that sales person with their company.
It's more about doing the extra work than it is about having fancy lines, trinkets or lame cold call gimmicks. You need to be where the DM's (decision makers) are and interact with them. Not every stop in will generate a lead or build a relationship. But from years of experience I can tell you that being in front the DM's if much better than not.
Special thanks to our friends at Polek & Polek for sponsoring tonight's blog, please make sure you check out their site and their awesome products for copiers