The availability of top managers is proportional to our ability to address issues that keep them awake at night…


Most sales personnel need no such demonstration to prove what a waste of time cold telephone canvassing is with the top brass. Cold-calling members of executive committees simply does not work!

So you are better off patiently building up a network of connections through LinkedIn for example.

A critical manager should perhaps ask himself: Does an executive hang up the phone after 20 seconds because he can’t stand being disturbed by a service-provider, or because he can’t stand being disturbed by the off-topic pitch of a service-provider?

Here is part of the answer: “69 % of executives accept an appointment when the vendor addresses an existing business priority.” (Forrester, 2013).

In short, you just need to get to the heart of the matter within those first, fateful 20 seconds.

Evidence suggests the success of phone canvassing is not so much a question of technique as of message.

In essence, it is about answering the kind of pertinent, off-the-cuff questions our contact asked:

  • Why should I clear 30 minutes in a crazy agenda?
  • Give me one good reason why I should agree to meet you?
  • What are you going to tell me I don’t already know?
  • How can you help boost my variable?

If you can answer these questions, you have already begun setting up the value proposition.

Indeed, securing a meeting is the very first step of a sales approach. It conveys the style, the intention and the positioning. Just like all relationships, it says much about how the service-provider “envisages” future clients.

Given this, to what extent can this be sub-contracted? As soon as accessing the upper echelons of decision-makers becomes a priority, would it be reasonable to divide the relationship into two distinct steps (obtaining a meeting and the actual meeting itself) and to delegate them to two separate people (the telemarketer and the sales rep)?

The care and attention a sales organisation devotes to obtaining meetings is often a good indication of its commercial ambition.

François Drillon, EXECUTIVE SELLING (


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