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Talk to the Right People




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by Mary-Rose Hoja in EPE, Sales

When you are struggling with tons of random meetings that do not lead to closing a decent-sized deal, it tactically comes down to talking to the right people.

If you have a background in the technical aspects of how you actually fix people’s problems, you might really enjoy technical discussions. If you’re a leadership consultant, perhaps you enjoy talking about the technical aspects of organizational leadership problems and fixing things at that level.  If your background is in research, technical discussions might be your comfort zone.

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If you’re struggling with accessing high-level people, though, it could be that you find it easier to hide behind the technical discussions. A really great test for that is to take some time in the morning and make a list of the people you want to speak to that day. Work through that list – emailing, calling, sending messages or texts – contacting the people you want to talk to. At the end of the day, look back at your list and see who you resisted contacting.  If you find yourself staring at the names of the lower-level people and feel in your stomach that you should really be contacting top level people instead, you must address this resistance.

If you don’t tackle this resistance, it ultimately means that you’re not going to be selling.  You’re going to be losing energy and wasting critical time talking to the wrong people. It also means that you will be exhausting your existing network, which is potentially filled with the wrong people – people who have no power and no purchasing decision-making abilities.

These are people who are not connected to the strategic direction of the business, and they likely don’t have any ownership and are not a part of the leadership team. They’re really not in the position to sell you in at a higher level where you can be a strategic advisor and be in a position to make larger deals.  It is critical to connect with people who are committed to the growth of the business and who really have a stake in things.

I often see that you’re pulled in to help a business when there is a shift in some way. I could be a merger that has come in place that isn’t working out, or the business is in a serious period of growth that is challenging, or they are in an industry that is struggling.

And the reason some companies end up struggling is because they have a CEO or a leadership team who are not really committed to growth themselves. The people who are in these positions are then going to also be recruiting people who are following in their line and following that shadow.

I am often seeing people connecting with HR and R&D level contacts. The problem here is that HR and R&D have no strategic power. Unless there’s a specific structure, they’re not tacked into the commercial success aspect of the business, which is where you need to be positioning yourself in order for you to achieve your own commercial success and so that you can close bigger, better deals.

In my experience, you could get lucky if you reach an HR or R&D person who are themselves very ambitious and really looking for growth. You could really be building on their ambition if they’re either looking to become CEO themselves over time, and/or they are looking to jump ship.

But in principle, if you are not making sales at the level you want, not having the level of commercial success you want, and you’re only talking to lower-level people in the company, there’s a correlation there. You need to be making a shift and start talking to the right people.

The number one thing I want you to talk to you about is reframing your value and understanding your self-worth. If you fix this piece, all of the rest will solve itself and you can start building commercial success.  

It is how you hold yourself in terms of others. It’s not about your certifications, your mechanics, the degrees you have, or your products. Rather, it’s what I call your input. It has to always be about the outcomes of your prospects and the outcomes of the people who influence them.

In my world there are kinds of two people:

  1. Prospects – the people who may buy from you.
  2. Influencers – existing or past clients who will act then as referrals. Those are people who will influence your success in some way, and either act as a kind of mentor for you and/or importantly influence prospective buyers. This is why it’s really important to always be thinking about after sale.

It really isn’t about your input. I promise you, they don’t care who you are. Nobody wants to buy a program with you or buy your products. What they do want is to have results. They want outcomes and commercial success for themselves and their clients. It’s all about the ultimate destination of their clients and the players who are on the field. It’s about impact. It’s about client success stories.

It’s also about their certainty of your expertise, your experience, and how you can help them achieve the outcomes that they want. Before you can help someone understand your value, expertise, experience, and transformative value, you need absolute internal conviction of it for yourself. It is imperative that you work on reframing your own value.

I have clients who come to me and say, “I can’t access this CEO. They won’t talk to me or take my call”.

It all comes down to your own perception of your own value, and you need to reframe it. You already have this inside you, I promise. This is simply tweaking and reframing. You already have amazing secret sauce which simply needs to be repackaged and re-presented.

What have you already achieved? What kind of emails are you getting? What are people actually asking you to do? What are people seeking your advice for? Look for consistent themes and patterns.

Testimonials and referrals are key, and these are all coming from what I call influencers. Influencers are where people fall down all the time, but they are the source of your best and most high-profit business.

Who influences your clients? Who do your clients serve? If you do not have a testimonials and success stories folder, you need to start one right now. We talk about moving in angles, and this is all about building your strategic network. Even if your connections are R&D or HR – people who are at lower power levels – you have it all in your laptop already. The power of your network is in your second- and third-degree connections.

I take a very pragmatic approach to this and believe in digging in where you stand. Don’t waste time on the wrong meetings. If you have a meeting booked in your calendar right  now with someone who has no buying power, I want you to email or call them and and say, “This is a change management situation, and I really want to figure out what else is going on. Let’s sit down with the leader.” If they’re on holiday, “When will they be back?”

You don’t ask, “Would you be available?” You say, “Let’s do this.” You instruct people. You have to be seen as the advisor. You must respect your own time, and then others will respect you. You don’t want to be overly available and constantly chasing people.

You really want to be constructive in this way. The big deals take a little bit of time, but it will be so much richer. Your reputation will be at an elevated level. This process will reframe your value.

The method we’re talking about here is Expert Profit Engine. If this resonates with you, head over to expertprofitengine.com and download our free guide. Do get in touch, as I’d love to know what you think about this and what your sticking parts are. I know you have all the amazingness inside of you, this is simply tweaking for maximum impact.