Some fears that keep reps from calling at the highest level within an organization: They may be loyal to their No-Powers, they may lack the skill to get past the gatekeepers, and they may not have done their homework. But sometimes, it's a matter of feeling powerless yourself. In this case, the gatekeeper standing between you and the power player is yourself. If you don't feel in your heart that you really deserve to speak with the power buyer, or that you belong in the same room with the power buyer, or have every right to be heard, all of your good intentions will get you nowhere. This chapter focuses on meeting power with power—your own. And this is the key to linking with those who wield authority.
Reclaim Your Power Now!
In many ways, it's not surprising so many people find it difficult to feel powerful. Daily life often undermines our sense of personal power in ways we are not even aware of. We can barely read the front page of the newspaper or watch the first four minutes of a television news broadcast before we get hit with accounts of forces beyond our control—from earthquakes to fires to drive-by shootings to terrorist attacks—which easily can drain our sense of power. It seems so much easier to cede power to those who have sought out titles of control. But doing this will not give you more power, or help you feel comfortable linking with influential and powerful people.
Reclaiming your power starts with you: No one else will grant it to you. A simple way to begin boosting your own sense of personal power is with daily sales affirmations. Use these seven affirmations to help you reframe your image of yourself before you start calling power buyers:
1. I deserve to talk with C-level executives, VPs, and directors.
2. I cannot get intimidated by calling high I have something to offer.
3. I can bring value to an organization and want to gain mind share at the highest levels.
4. I will not accept "no" from people who have no power to say "yes."
5. I will schedule two lunch meetings per month with a high influencer.
6. I will approach authority figures with genuine curiosity and think in terms of creating success in every situation.
7. I will continue to position myself at the highest level and feel I am important, significant, and relevant.
Cubicle Chronicles: Where's the Power in My Pipeline? Reality Check
Now that you've learned how to distinguish between the powerless and the powerful, and link with them effectively, you can take another look at your sales forecast. Your sales forecast represents your qualified opportunities and estimates their probability of closing. Once you’ve let go of your No-Pos, you can flush the powerless out of your pipeline and make your forecast as accurate as possible.
Power-Seeker Lucy: "I know that I shouldn’t hang out with a No-Po for very long, but I was wondering…couldn't they actually become a power buyer at some point and make my commitment worth it?"
Reality Check: No-Pos rarely become power buyers because they lack some of the influential qualities required to become one. Don't hang on to false hope. Once a No-Po, always a No-Po.
Power-Seeker Roger: "My power buyer answered the phone once and gave me a few minutes of their time. He asked me to get in touch with his team, and I haven't been able to get him back. What am I doing wrong?"
Reality Check: It could be that when you first spoke with him, you didn’t create enough value for him to think you can help with his business. That's OK, there's still time to outline everything you know and go back to him.
Power-Seeker Lyla: "My field partner asked me to set appointments with all C-level individuals for a call campaign. I spent weeks on it and haven't been able to reach any of them."
Reality Check: That's not a surprise. Have you tried working with their assistants or secretaries? Have you done some homework about their company and approached them with your knowledge? Have you created value to answer their questions about why it would be worth their time to meet with your field partner?
Power-Seeker Matthew: "I'm not sure I've identified the power buyer. I think I may be getting close, but don’t understand the signals."
Reality Check: Call around, up and down, and wide on the org chart. If all the names you get point to the same person, that you’ve hit the power buyer.
Power-Seeker Sasha: "I give up! I've been trying to get in touch with this CTO for months. I've tried everything—calling his assistant, his managers, and even the department secretary. They all tell me he is extremely busy. They take my message and tell me he will get back to me, but I just don’t buy it."
Reality Check: It's time to revisit what you are saying and the messages you are leaving. How are you engaging those around him? What value are you bringing? What do your e-mails say that creates value?
This excerpt is featured in Chapter 6 of the "Smart Selling on the Phone and Online book" published by Amacom Books ISBN 978-081441465. All Rights Reserved, 2009.
Josiane Feigon, is president of TeleSmart and author of the best selling book, "Smart Selling on the Phone and Online." Her Cubicle Chronicles blog is one of the top 25 sales blogs. Josiane is a global thought leader and recognized as one of the world's leading experts on inside sales teams and management talent. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.