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Building Confidence to Approach High-Level Prospects

Shift Your Mindset and Power




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by Mary-Rose Hoja in EPE, Networking strategy

One of the questions we are frequently asked is how to approach executive level prospects.

What used to work to get even a simple meeting with board-level prospects and decision makers simply doesn’t work anymore, as today’s approach and process to marketing and sales is different than it was even a couple of years ago. You must use a psychological approach.

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This means understanding where your prospects, the people who influence them, and the people who recommend you, are in their lives and business – even down to a micro-level.  The goal is that is when they do come into contact with you, it is attached to some kind of value to them and they see that value when they are receptive. This makes you relevant, and you are able to develop a personal, strategic relationship with them.

Over time, this makes you the obvious choice for bigger, better deals.

And that is what the Expert Profit Engine method is all about, especially when you find yourself in a new network, country, or culture. Even if you have 25 years experience and you are used to the red carpet treatment, the rules are now different when moving into a new market or network.

A key reason is that purchasing decisions are being made in alternate ways. Moving into 2020, the projected shift in the economy means that high-paying prospects are psychologically looking at potential bust times not boom times.

If you are not gaining traction at the level you deserve, you need to make some tweaks in what you are doing – especially if you are working in a second language or cultural ecosystem.

Time and again, I see that a lot of blocks are actually very basic and very fundamental. It boils down to confidence – or lack thereof.  

Especially in a new network, people often view VIPs as a sort of celebrity, and they envision the VIP at a higher, unattainable level than themselves.  You need to shift your mindset and power on this, and I have three tips that can work for you both online and offline.

First, let’s look at offline.  

How can you approach a VIP when they are, for example, getting coffee at a networking event?

Confidence and boldness issues come into play at events and networking opportunities when people are asked questions such as, “What do you do?”, “Where do you work”, or “Who do you work for?”.

The response that you give is very telling. What I often hear are responses along the lines of, “I run a small operation in Stockholm”, “I am a sole trader”, “I am just a solopreneur”.  I’m only this. I’m just a tiny, insignificant ant.

Listen to how this presents you to the other person.  What you’re doing is stooping to conquer! Stop that immediately! Instead of diminishing yourself, try the following three things.

1. Use a touch of humor in your response

Use a bit of wit in it and say, “I run my own empire.” This can require practice to find the right balance, as you need to be serious, too.  But using this touch of humor can build a fabulous bridge between humans which is completely outside of the respective people’s positions and their organizations. It is fantastic for building relationships at the professional-personal interface.

2. Answer with your impact rather than the size of your operation

This response is a key ingredient to boosting your confidence and leveling the playing field.  In response to questions such as, “What do you do?”, or “Where do you come from?”, answer like this: “I help major pharma companies with their digital strategy to reach doctors and nurses”.  

The size of your operation is irrelevant! You could be a one person show, but that isn’t important. The only thing that is relevant is the impact you offer their business. That is the source of your high-revenue deals..

3. Act like the boss

You are the boss. You are the boss of your expertise and of your operation, and you need to present yourself as such. Don’t approach VIPs without consequential thinking and ask for a selfie. Have dignity with this. Stand at the back and observe as other people speak. This is a fantastic trick, especially for introverts, and is so helpful for experts moving into a new network.  Stand, observe, and gather business intelligence.

How do these principles apply in the online space?  

Much of your initial like and trust building should be done online. Moving into 2020, we are seeing more and more business coming in through personal channels.  You need to be aligning where you are and how you are online with where and how you are offline.  The magic here is that what works offline can transfer very effectively into the digital world.

Online platforms such as LinkedIn are incredibly important for your business.  Use humour! Dare to show your personality and a touch of wit in your bio and in the comments you give.

In dry, professional platforms and conversations, you have a golden opportunity to show leadership and give people “permission” to give opinions. Use humour in your bios, invitations and recommendations. It really builds the professional-personal interface, which is exactly where you want to be.

It is also vitally important to show your impact on online platforms as well. Remember – it is all about them, and being relevant to them.

And finally, it is just as critical to act like the boss online. Do not always be the first one to comment. Observe the tone and the ecosystem first. Observe who jokes with who (and who doesn’t). Be aware of who “likes” what (and who doesn’t). This helps to build fantastic business intelligence.

And before you say, “My targets are not online” – yes, they are. You need to look at where they are in their lives. They might be launching a book, looking for speaking and moderating gigs, board positions or investment opportunities. Perhaps they are looking for relevant exposure and connections.  This means you have a golden opportunity to help them in a way that is relevant to them.

So behave like the boss. Focus on your impact. Use humour.

All three are fantastic techniques that make this much more enjoyable and will help to accelerate your business.  Do try this out.

If you are struggling to gain traction in a new network of high-paying clients, or with landing bigger, better deals, head over to expertprofitengine.com.  You can download our free guide on how to package, price, promote and sell your expertise at a higher profit. Let’s make your expertise even more profitable!