As a salesperson tasked with cold calling or emailing, the ideal scenario is getting in touch with the person who calls the shots – the CEO. You don’t want to deal with office minions or battle past gatekeepers. You want the CEO. The big fish.
The problem is CEOs are busy, hard to reach, and the target of many other prowling salespeople. Your mission is to compete for their attention, earn their trust, and entice them to pursue your offer – all before their next coffee craving.
It’s a stretch, but with the right strategy you can easily spark meaningful conversations and score productive meetings. Here’s how.
Call at the right time
Calling at the right time can mean the difference between landing in their voicemail and getting a meeting. In sales you’re often told to call CEOs early in the day ‘before they get too busy’. The problem is that every salesperson is thinking exactly the same thing. The even bigger problem is that if a CEO is at the office early, it’s because they want to get work done without interruption. They won’t want to talk to you. Period.
To get your calls answered every time, here are a few tips on the best time to call CEOs:
- The best time to call a prospect is between 4 – 5 pm, followed by 11 am – 12 pm. Others swear that between 5 – 8 pm is also a sweet spot. Feel free to test which hours yield the most conversations.
- A 2017 study by CallHippo found that Wednesday and Thursday are the best days of the week to call prospects. They’re not dragging their feet like on Mondays and Tuesdays and aren’t impatient to start the weekend like on Fridays.
- The same study found that salespeople have a 90% success rate on their sixth call. Schedule six calls over a 15-day period to improve your response rate by 110%.
- Following up within one minute of your prospect submitting an inquiry boosts conversions by 391%. Try to follow up within the hour if you can’t make the one-minute window.
Tom Magnuson, a CEO of a predominant hotel chain, told Harvard Business Review, ‘I get hit on a lot by vendors and hardly ever buy.’ But if the vendor respects his time and presents valuable information in a clear and concise manner, Magnuson said he is willing to listen.
CEOs are always on the go and don’t have time to hear long-winded speeches or read novel-like emails. If you want to hold their attention, only tell them what they’d appreciate the most.
If you’re using a cold-calling script, trim and prune it until it’s short enough to convey your message to a passerby on the street. If you’re cold-emailing, use your smartphone to type it. The smaller screen will give you a better sense of just how lengthy the email is before you hit send.
Read our post on how to send irresistible outreach emails next.
Show you know their business
It’s a well-known fact that sliding in a common interest or mentioning a mutual college mate can keep even the busiest exec on the line. But digging into their social media profiles isn’t as powerful as showing you did your homework on the company itself.
CEOs are concerned chiefly with business outcomes. They’re considering how much better your offer is compared to others and how it’ll affect their modus operandi. Make sure to address these issues and highlight the fact that you’ve studied their company to recommend the best solution for them.
Magnuson, the CEO we mentioned earlier, signed a chain-wide deal with a company after their salesperson said they’d analyzed Magnuson’s hotels and had ideas for increasing room rates. That surprising detail was enough to catch Magnuson’s attention.
Simply put: showing you did your homework before contacting them can separate you from the gaggle of callers and initiate a meaningful conversation.
Think like a CEO
According to a study, executives consider less than 20% of the meetings they have with salespeople to be valuable. If you’re going to effectively sell to a CEO, you need to think like one.
Drilling on about marketing products or customer support isn’t going to interrupt their urge to hang up on you. Those subjects are below their radar. Instead, frame your message around the issues that keep CEOs up at night– like branding, market perceptions, growth prospects, reputation management, etc.
It also helps to reach out to CEOs that are open and willing to consider your offer in the first place. Make sure you have well-defined customer profiles to guide the search for prospects your business can genuinely help.
In the same vein, using a platform to generate top-of-funnel prospects can help you spend less time prospecting and more time engaging leads. Just like a CEO, delegate what you can and focus on what matters most.
Sign up for your free Triggr account and start contacting the CEOs who would be more than happy to meet with you.