What to do when you get kicked “down” the chain

What to do when you get kicked down the chainToday I had a meeting lined up with the head of the department who buys what I sell.

20 minutes before our meeting, she sent an email saying that she can’t make the meeting, but her employee (who she said is COMPLETLY involved with their programs) would be there instead.

Know how I responded?

I emailed back (cc: all)  “PERFECT! I am delighted to meet with Samantha…she is just the right person to take a look.”

(HINT: Always leave people knowing that everything is NO PROBLEM and JUST RIGHT – even though you may feel disappointed).

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Actually, NOW, I had a HUGE advantage

I was talking with the person who USES my competitor’s product on a day-to-day basis. SHE is more familiar with the PAIN than anyone else in the company. I can develop this person to be a real fly-in-the-ointment of her managers if she wants to switch to our products.

BUT, Beware!

I didn’t assume a single thing about the sale. I started from scratch.

First, I laid out for Samantha why her manager had wanted to meet with me and why her manager had put it on the calendar.

THEN, I turned the focus completely to her. I asked Samantha what HER expectation of the meeting was. I asked her what, if anything, she knew about my company. I asked her what she did and what her role was (don’t pretend that your search on LinkedIn or her title tells you a single bit – ask THEM.)

And of course, the MAGIC questions:

“What would be the best use of YOUR time on this call? What do YOU want to see?”

The world opened up!

Samantha told me EVERYTHING she was dealing with as the end-user of our competitor’s product and EXACTLY what she wanted from our time. It was delicious. And, she felt important. Because she is.

The meeting went EXCEPTIONALLY well. Because Samantha felt like it was a big deal that I’d gotten kicked down the chain, she gave me everything I wanted to know about her company’s pain points.

She left the call EXCITED and wanting to hear more.

Now, what I’ll do…

I will now call Samantha’s boss and tell her how great is was that she put me in touch with the perfect resource. I will summarize our call and WE ARE FURTHER ALONG than we would have been, otherwise.

Never forget the power of RECIPROCATION

Samantha’s boss turned the tables on me. And I was GREAT with her. And, I was GREAT with her trusted-employee. Now, she owes ME graciousness. It works like a charm.

Believe me, I am 10 times more likely to close this deal than I was when I woke up this morning.

I NOW  have an internal advocate, a decision-maker who “owes” me and more information about what they are REALLY dealing with than I would have EVER gotten in the meeting I thought we were going to have.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Your job is to always be great with everyone and everything. The rest will sort itself out!

Pretty easy, right?

Love ’em UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

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