There is a pretty simple formula that will help you get a meeting with me. For 25 years, I was a Key Decision Maker (KDM). I’ve run Product Management departments. I’ve lead sales and customer service teams. I’ve defined strategies for manufacturing, distribution, and technology service organizations. As a KDM I can tell you that in my career I have rarely experienced salespeople who “Get My Attention.” Which is I why I have not returned phone calls. Or listened to voice mails. And it’s why I have deleted 95% of the emails I have ever received. When I hear from salespeople who understand the Value Equation, I tend to listen, and I think, "Huh…that’s interesting.” And I’m more likely to schedule a meeting to learn more.
Look, I’m a busy person. I’m a KDM. My job is to consider the macroeconomic environment, evaluate what is happening in my industry, listen to feedback from my teams, consider my objectives (as they cascade down from the CEO,) and…wait for it…
Make Decisions (This is my job…Hence the term: Key Decision Maker.)
The simple formula for getting a meeting with me is this:
Here are some examples of the math:
You get the picture.
What You Need to Know
In order to make the “Value Equation” positive, you need to spend more time talking about how you can solve my problems than you do talking about your company’s products or services.
To do this, you need to understand my Operating Reality. Start by applying some basic critical thinking skills in these three areas:
Look at my Industry using a PESTLE analysis. PESTLE stands for:
Google is your friend. If you search for phrases such as: “Top trends in the ‘Lettuce Farming’ industry.” You’ll find dozens of articles that give you great clues about what’s on my mind, if that's my business. In fact, you’ll probably be reading the same articles that I read.
Second, understand my Role. If I’m a product leader, my job is to identify market opportunities and launch new products. If I’m a financial leader, then my job is to manage key financial ratios of the company and minimize risk. If I’m a human resources leader, my job is to bring exceptional human capital into the company to achieve the goals of the organization. And if I'm a procurement leader, then my job is to manage contracts and leverage relationships to meet the goals of the organization.
3. Vision and Mission
Third, know what my company is trying to do… and be curious about it. If my CEO provides a quarterly statement about the status of the company and the initiatives we have in place for the next 12-18 months, then you can be sure that my objectives are tied to these in some way. If not – please spend (at least) ten minutes reviewing my website, so you at least have some idea about our mission, vision, and values.
If you have this basic information in hand: a PESTLE view of my industry, the requirements of my role, and my company’s vision and mission – then you have the ability to engage me in a meaningful conversation. If you don’t – rest assured that I will check out quickly.
Preparation enables you to create value statements that help me recognize your importance to me as a KDM. I really don’t care about your features and functions. I care about my problems. Solving them is how I get paid a bonus. Help me solve my problems, and I will be a customer for life. Try to convince me that your products or services are better than what I have now…I will hang up on you within seconds.
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