gatekeeperThe gatekeepers are onto your tricks.

Are you tired of talking to people without any decision-making power? Wouldn’t you rather walk straight into the corner office and pitch to the person who’s actually in charge? Of course you would. So why are you still cold calling?

Newsflash: 90 percent of CEOs do not respond to cold calls or emails, and neither do their gatekeepers.

One assistant told me many cold callers lie and tell her the CEO asked them to reach out. Most are cocky; others are downright rude; and some try to lay on the charm. A lot of them keep calling and calling, hoping to eventually get past her. But gatekeepers are good at their job. So duplicitous cold callers always get shut down.

Gatekeepers can smell phoniness a mile away. Think you’re getting away with cold calling and pretending you’re best buddies with your prospect? Think again. You’re not fooling anybody.

So what’s the fastest way to gain entrance into the C-suite? When you receive referral introductions from people these executives know and trust, your prospects (and their gatekeepers) will happily take your call.

Learn more about the power of referral selling from some of this month’s blog posts:

Forget B2C or B2B—Focus on H2H Instead

Your business might be complicated, but your customers aren’t. Whether your customers are individuals or enterprises, and whether they buy online or offline, you’re still selling to human beings. So the secret to increasing sales effectiveness isn’t finding complicated, impressive ways to explain what you do. It’s getting to know and understand your customer, which shouldn’t be hard, considering you’re a human being too. (Read “Forget B2C or B2B—Focus on H2H Instead.”)

Buyer 2.0 Wants It All—Right Now

Technology might make us faster, better, and stronger. But it has also made our customers much less patient. Buyer 2.0 expects us to move quickly—to deliver solutions and results almost immediately. To some degree, technology enables us to do that. But a word of warning: Faster does not always mean better. Speed can make us careless, sloppy, and less thorough. (Read “Buyer 2.0 Wants It All—Right Now.”)

Why Your Video Doesn’t Work for Me

Thought leadership is all the rage today. Delivering value to our customers means educating and informing them—which means we must remember what school teachers have always known: Everyone learns differently. Multimedia is cool, flashy, and engaging for many people. Just be careful to strike a balance so that you don’t exclude those who want to know your point of view but don’t have patience with your approach. (Read “Why Your Video Doesn’t Work for Me.”)

Are You Expecting Too Much?

Sage advice from a sales VP I used to work under: “Joanne, never leave a meeting without giving your buyer a task. That’s the best test for whether the person is serious about moving forward.” His words of wisdom have proven to be true, and this philosophy has helped me increase my sales effectiveness time and time again. That’s why I loved the post from guest blogger, Nancy Bleeke, who says you should always get everything in writing. (Read “Are You Expecting Too Much?”)

[Message to Management]: It’s Not Your Problem

It is certainly management’s responsibility to get the rocks off the road for salespeople, so they can do what they were hired to do—sell. But we don’t have all the answers, nor should we.  It’s easy to get sucked into solving everyone’s problems, but that’s a waste of your management time and doesn’t help your reps develop their own problem-solving skills. The better strategy (for everyone involved) is to give your team the tools and training they need to find their own solutions. (Read “[Message to Management]: It’s Not Your Problem.”)

Don’t Let Your Smart Phone Make You Look Stupid

Here are the cold, hard facts: You might think you can listen and check email at the same time, but no one else is fooled. If you’re multi-tasking on your phone during meetings, you’re likely to miss an important point that could either boost your sales or derail your career. (Read “Don’t Let Your Smart Phone Make You Look Stupid.”)

[Sales Alchemy]: Turning a “No” Into a “Yes”

Moving qualified buyers into your forecast and increasing your sales pipeline means addressing objections—without being defensive. Even more important is bringing up possible objections before your buyer even has a chance to do so. That’s why I resonated with the wake-up call from guest blogger, Art Sobczak—who challenges sales professionals to ditch the rote responses, get real, and face buyer objections as soon as possible. (Read “[Sales Alchemy]: Turning a ‘No’ Into a ‘Yes.’”)

Do Your Connections Count?

Thousands of people have subscribed to my newsletter. But I’m not connected with thousands of people on LinkedIn. The reason is simple. LinkedIn is not a numbers game. So stop counting connections and focus on creating connections that count.

Of course, just because we aren’t connected doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Click through to my LinkedIn profile. Am I the type of professional connection that makes sense for your business? Can we help each other? If you answered “yes” to both questions, send me a personal invitation to join your network. But please don’t use the standard LinkedIn invite. Make your case, and let’s start a conversation!

Are you interested in achieving a 120-pecent ROI?

“The 120-percent ROI I have received in less than a year speaks for itself.  Joanne’s program took me from a multitude of ideas to a focused set of activities most likely to generate referrals and revenue growth. Thanks to Joanne’s reliably savvy coaching, I have been able to implement with consistency and develop a pipeline with future potential.”

— Janet Campbell, CFA (Abunda Financial, LLC)

Find out how you can have the best sales year ever, using referral selling. Click here.