RAINMAKER SERIES: Becoming a top sales professional – a Rainmaker – is a goal many sales professionals have. Rainmakers know that being at the top of their game builds business, impacts relationships, and generates superior customer loyalty and referral. The series that follow will explore the characteristics and behaviors that top sales professionals embrace. We hope you find this series of short informal discussions around excellence in the sales role to be useful and thought-provoking.
How to “Fill in the White Space” on Your Sales Prospecting
- Who are the decision-makers at the company you would most like to be doing business with right now?
- Who else influences the decision, or could stop you from gaining access to these people?
- Who are the managers of other departments, and the subordinates or front-line supervisors in each one… not to mention the men and women who sit higher up the food chain?
Most salespeople could answer one or two of these questions, but Rainmakers have a good idea about how decisions are being made in each and every company they work with. How did they get such a big leg up on their competitors? By doing the hard work and research to “fill in the white space” in the organizational charts that have drawn for the companies they prospect to.
In most departments and training programs, salespeople are taught to make a small chart with their contact in the middle, and a few key influencers above and below. These typically become outdated pretty quickly, if they’re actually filled in at all. But that’s a big mistake, since having insight as to who will be deciding whether to purchase from you or not – along with their individual needs and concerns –can be a great tool in helping to persuade them to consider what you’re proposing.
So how do you fill in the white space on an organizational chart? It’s probably not something you’re going to do all at once. You’ll want to begin by finding out what you can about your contact and who else is on the buying decision, of course, but don’t just stop there. Get into the habit of researching, networking, and asking the right questions regularly, so that instead of missing changes when someone leaves or is promoted within your prospect’s company, you are continually developing a better, more complete picture of a sales situation.
In fact, if you take this idea far enough, you might even consider more sophisticated tools to keep up with what you’ve learned. Software programs, for instance, that can draw charts, add photos of your contacts, and link with your CRM platform could be extremely helpful. Imagine leaving for your prospect’s office to make a presentation, having spent the last 20 minutes reminding yourself of all the decision-makers names, faces, and professional backgrounds. Is there any doubt that having that kind of reminder at your fingertips will help you close more sales?
Part of becoming a Rainmaker is learning to improve the percentage of opportunities you are able to convert into finished sales and profitable customer relationships. Knowing your prospects organizational chart, and “filling in the white space,” is a great way to get started on that path.