“Equal business stature, Tim, that’s all I want, to be treated as an equal. I believe I have earned that right and yet to a gatekeeper or prospect, I am the lowest form of humanity.” So lamented a friend of mine over a recent lunch of burgers, fries and a heaping plateful of frustrated sales efforts.
As a sales trainer, it’s frustrating for me as well to listen to such stories when I know that the man I was sitting across from – and others – have all the requisite skills of a trusted advisor. Unfortunately when they engage in the work of finding new prospects their self-esteem gets the whack. Prospects can be cold, tough. Gatekeepers can be worse.
Let’s be fair. No one likes taking calls from salespeople. Not you, not me, not any rational human being. Gatekeepers take sales calls all day long and who can blame them for being edgy at the sound of an unrecognizable voice (“It’s gotta be a salesman!”). However in the salesperson’s defense, gatekeepers are paid to take telephone calls and while part of that pay means keeping salespeople at bay, a bigger part is to discern who may be useful to the organization. Gatekeepers are not paid to unilaterally dump potential business partners, especially at the expense of a business plan.
There are two ways to develop EBS – Equal Business Stature: Act as though you’re the president and get referred in – multiple times. Presidents talk to presidents, and being referred in says success, says trusted advisor, and it says you’re different. A gatekeeper can hear that difference a mile away and usually responds accordingly.
Having equal business stature has everything to do with shortening a sales cycle. At this moment in time I can’t think of anything more important to cash flow than a shortened selling cycle, and selecting effective tools and/or methods to help you do so can offer great return on your investment!
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