Gatekeepers – receptionists, administrative assistants and executive admins – are valuable to the executive, but not to you; not until you’ve developed your relationship. And certainly not when you cold call.

My goal is to change your business development, prospecting and lead-generation strategies to referral selling to change the way you sell and succeed. Get past the gatekeeper. And close more business in less time.

Dump the script: In the world of referral selling, cold calling from a script doesn’t cut it. Ever. When you receive a referral, you don’t need a script. Your referral source has pre-sold you and your capabilities. All you need to say is who you are, who referred you and schedule a time to talk. You’re “proud” to mention your company name.

Get the list that counts: The Web 2.0 world promises to increase your prospecting productivity by delivering qualified leads to your inbox at the prospect’s time of need. We’re all familiar with availability of “bought” lists. But take a closer look: Are these leads really qualified, or are they just names?

You might get so-called leads from your website, special offers, email campaigns, direct mail, trade shows, advertising, cold calling and conferences. These are not sales leads; they are lists. A list gets you to the gatekeeper and no further. Until you qualify them, lists are not sales leads.

The fastest and least expensive way to meet the people you want to meet and who want to meet you is to get a referral and a personal introduction. There is no gatekeeper.

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Joanne Black is a professional sales speaker, sales webinar leader, and author of “No More Cold Calling: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust” from Warner Business Books. Visit www.nomorecoldcalling.com. (C) Copyright 2011 Joanne S. Black. All rights reserved.