Are you tired of talking to people without any decision-making power? Wouldn’t you rather walk straight to the corner office and speak with the person who’s actually in charge? Of course you would.

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

Here are two more key strategies to get you in and out with a deal in hand:

1.    Stop cold calling. A sales call is either cold or hot. A cold call is when you reach out to someone who doesn’t know you and doesn’t expect your call. Salespeople delude themselves into thinking they are making “warm calls” when they’re really just cold calling.

Consider the following hot and cold situations:

    • You contact someone whose name came from a colleague or friend who did not actually introduce you to your prospect. Cold!
    • You contact someone and then follow up with a letter. Colder!
    • You contact someone whose name came from a specific list. Colder still!

Even though you think you’ve avoided sounding like a telemarketer in these situations, your call is still cold. The same goes for sending emails or LinkedIn messages to people who don’t know you or expect to hear from you. You’re just doing the digital form of cold calling. And make no mistake, the gatekeeper sees every email. Even if you manage to slip a message through on social media, the delete button will still keep you from your prospect.

2.    Get those referrals. In a survey of 125 senior executives, development consultancy Responsibility Centered Leadership asked what would prompt them to take a meeting with a salesperson. The top two scenarios: a referral from someone within their companies and a referral from a trusted source outside their companies.

Selling by referral shortens your sales process. You arrive presold, gain the trust of the prospect, eliminate the competition and attract new clients more than 50 percent of the time. No other sales prospecting strategy can claim these results. Get the referral introduction and walk right into the C-suite. The gatekeeper has left the building!

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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. © Copyright 2011 Joanne S. Black. All rights reserved.