How much time have you spent trying to get to the few people who care about what you’re offering inside your prospect’s business? Reaching the right people, the decision-makers inside a prospective customer doesn’t have to be a frustrating hit-or-miss adventure. Here are two strategies for finding key decision makers.\
Find your internal coach: Building a relationship with key players inside your prospect customer firm is the best way to find out who makes the decisions, what they care about and how to get their attention. But who are they? If not a decision-maker then at least someone willing to help you with information and contacts for key players. Finding names is tough because the person who answers the customer’s incoming phone calls likely doesn’t know or isn’t allowed to tell you. Even knowing the title of the person usually isn’t enough. Without the name(s) progress stops and you can’t move forward to success.
How to find the name? When I didn’t know anyone inside potential customers’ businesses I found an indirect approach that’s fast and effective. Put simply I figure out a trade magazine or a subscription website that targets the specific professional interests of the person I’m looking for and then buy or rent the contact list of their subscribers.
In our refractometer business one target customer group was large heavy equipment manufacturers. We had a new industrial lubricant testing refractometer used to maintain expensive, high volume steel cutting tools that was easier to use and more accurate than existing instruments. We just needed to talk to the right person. But finding out from the outside who was responsible on the inside for the quality of industrial lubricants used at these large companies was tough. After several weeks of trying to identify the right people with phone calls and company directories I found two trade magazines that targeted these people: “Metalworking Fluids” and “Lubes & Greases.” It’s hard to imagine magazines that would target my prospects more effectively. After all, who would pay money to subscribe to such publications if they were not working with industrial lubricants? Plus the names were all current subscribers so the contact info was accurate. For only about $500, within one day I had a list of over 600 manufacturing engineers and maintenance managers at companies around New England. When I contacted subscribers to talk about our innovative product they were interested to hear much more and help connect us because it targeted a primary responsibility of theirs.
This experience was no fluke. Are you selling software for managing hotel guest info? Try “Hotel Management Technology.” Selling food manufacturing equipment to customers in the Middle East? Rent a list from “Food Manufacturing Journal – Middle East.” Whatever you’re selling, you can almost always find a publication, trade organization or subscription web site that targets your prospects. Check out http://www.webwire.com/IndustryList.asp for more examples of publications. The subscription lists are accurate, the people you contact will be interested and the cost is minimal.