shutterstock_69819847 copy

Six Ways to Get In

The most difficult part of selling today is getting in. Your dream clients don’t have time for salespeople that aren’t proven value creators, and they can’t spend time with time-wasters. Because they are overwhelmed, it’s more difficult to get the first commitment of time.

But nothing happens until you get in.

Here are six ways that you can get in. Make a list of your dream clients, run down this list and try to get in using each of these methods. The sixth method is always there when you are ready to do what it takes to get in, but feel free to run out your options first if you must.

Client Referral or Introduction

You want to the easiest and most effective way to get an appointment with your dream client? Ask another client for a referral, and ask them to schedule an introduction call or meeting.

This is super-effective, but salespeople that chafe at the idea of making cold calls aren’t usually very interested in asking their clients to make these introductions. If you are a value-creator, don’t hesitate to make the ask. Client referrals work.

Vendor Referral or Introduction

Your company works with other companies. Your people know the sales reps from those companies, even if you don’t. You can ask your vendors to make an introduction call or book an appointment for you with their contacts. You’re paying your vendors, and their salespeople will be helpful.

Be prepared to reciprocate and help the sales reps from your vendors get in where you can. In fact, go first and obligate them to reciprocate. Vendor referrals can help get you in.

Family or Friend Introduction

Your friends and family members know people. With tools like LinkedIn you can find the connections between your family and friends and the people they know (we’ll get to LinkedIn next, hold tight).

Ask your family and friends to make an introduction for you. For some of you, this won’t be the best way to get in. But many of you will find connections, especially if the contacts you need live in the same city as you.

LinkedIn Introduction

The barrier for making an introduction on LinkedIn (and social media more generally) is very, very low. When you find a contact, you can ask connections within your network to introduce you to people in their network.

You make it easy for them to make the introduction when you tell them why you want to be connected and how you intend to be valuable to the person you want to connect with. LinkedIn can work to help you get in.

Email for an Appointment

Those of you that resist cold calling and hesitate to ask for commitments will like this one. You can email your dream client to request an appointment. Most people find cold calling more effective, but some salespeople book appointments with email.

Brace yourself; this will frighten you a little.

Some of the most successful salespeople I have seen use email are emailing calendar invites to their dream clients before their dream client has even committed to seeing them. Bold? Yes. Brave? Yes. Assumptive? Absolutely. But email sometimes work.

Cold Call (or Warm Call, if that makes you feel better)

You don’t have to wait for a client referral, a vendor referral, an introduction from a family or friend, or someone in your network on LinkedIn to help you get in. Because you are a value creator of the first order, you can pick up the phone and call your dream client yourself.

Cold calling still works to get you in.

Whatever you do, work your tail off to find a way in.


What is the most effective way to get in?

What other ways are sometimes effective?

What methods do you avoid because they make you uncomfortable? What do you resist?

Join my weekly Newsletter or apply for membership in my exclusive Inner Circle Mastermind Group.

Subscribe to my weekly podcast In the Arena.



  • tomscearce

    Great list Anthony. Another good way in is via a school alumni network. These are vast (and often under-leveraged) pools of what Malcom Gladwell might call “loose tie” contacts. Interestingly, loose tie contacts are sometimes better connectors than blood relatives or other strong tie contacts. For example, I graduated from business school 8 years ago. Last month I browsed the alumni database for literally the first time. I sent one short sweet email to a fellow alum – an executive at an early stage company in a rapidly emerging category. We booked an appointment for two weeks later, and I’m now generating a proposal. I enjoyed getting my MBA, it’s come in handy several times in my career. But I don’t mind admitting that every now and then I look at my student loan statements and wonder about the real ROI. Well – not this month!

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Tom: A few deals from the alumni ranks may just give you a positive ROI! I am–still–a relationships guy first and foremost. Most people don’t work their networks of “loose contacts” at all. We don’t like to ask. But by asking, we give our networks permission to ask, and that’s the point of having some of these relationships.

      Nice add! Glad your comment will live here as a supplement to this post!


  • Johnmark

    Another smart way to “get in” is by participating in “Meet-Up” groups or networking organizations you know have your “customer profile” type

  • AdMall

    These are great suggestions. In media sales, we try to bring something of value to our small business prospects – an article about their industry, some market research about their potential customers; anything that might help and educate them. Thank you for your insightful posts, Anthony, I always enjoy sharing them with our followers.
    Faye Oney

  • Dan

    Anthony, can you expand on this section you wrote? “Some of the most successful salespeople I have seen use email are emailing calendar invites to their dream clients before their dream client has even committed to seeing them. Bold? Yes. Brave? Yes. Assumptive? Absolutely. But email sometimes work.”