When opening relationships is more difficult than closing, why wouldn’t you have a strategy for getting in at any level? Why stick to the C-Suite?
If you come in at the highest level, you’ve probably found the authority you need, the person who will sign an agreement. You know your strategy for getting in at this level is going to be sharing strategic level ideas and big outcomes like improved market share, increased compettiveness, higher revenue, greater profit, or lower costs.
But what if by luck, by circumstances, or by design you find your way in a level or two down? What if the path of least resistance into to a hard to penetrate prospect is two levels below the C-Suite? You’re still going to take your shot, aren’t you? Your strategy a few levels down is probably in helping the organization execute. Or maybe it’s about helping them with their three or four big initiatives.
Even though you’ve been taught to aim high and work your way down, sometimes the easiest path in is at a very low level on your prospect’s organizational chart. The end-users of your product or service are sometimes the most receptive stakeholders in the organization. They’re oftentimes the key to understanding what the real issues are in producing results. Your strategy here is going to be features and benefits. They want to know what you do and how it’s going to work for them.
In a perfect world, it would be easy to schedule an appointment with your dream client, easy to gain access to all of the stakeholders, and easy to build consensus within those groups. But this isn’t a perfect world; it never has been, and it never will be.
You take your opportunities where you find them. You need a strategy and a value proposition that appeals to the different groups at different levels within your prospective client. Then you need a strategy to gain access to the rest of the organization.
If you can’t get in where you want, get in where you can.