People block you from their bosses and others for a whole host of reasons. For example they feel they will lose their power over you; they don’t like what you have and know that if you get past them their boss might buy what you have and they will be stuck with you; admins are told not to let sales people get past them and fear the repercussions from the boss; etc. However, every block you’ve ever encountered was based on fear of losing something – power, ego, job, recognition, authority, etc. Gatekeepers don’t see a win in it for themselves; otherwise they would let you pass. They either see a risk and/or see nothing in it for them to let you through. Therefore, you’re blocked.
You’re blocked. You’re frustrated. You try to be polite. Yet, you don’t ask for the reason s/he is not letting you meet others. You stop trying and are stuck with this gatekeeper.
So here is what you can do to handle this common situation or prevent it.
1. Always assume you’ll be blocked. If you know this is going to happen, you can prepare what to say and what to do, if or when it happens.
2. Set you attitude for meeting the top people. Say to yourself, “I must get to the C-levels or profit-center leader – sooner or later.” Your attitude must be that even though you’ll be blocked, you will always meet with all the powerful Decision Makers in-spite of the upcoming blocks. This will give you the incentive to refuse being blocked. Think of yourself as a pass rusher in football. You’ve got to get to the quarterback before he tosses your sale to a competitor.
3. Assume your boss is going grill you on getting to the ultimate, high level decision maker. (Probably a good assumption.) When you say, “No” and s/he says, “Then, what are you going to do about it?” What would you say or do? Once you figure out what you’d say or do, go do it.
4. Eliminate blocks before they happen
a. Win the person over before you try to get him to introduce you upwards.
b. Let everyone you meet know you will have to speak with others involved before you can submit a proposal and pricing.
c. Rehearse what you’ll say if and when the person blocks you.
d. Make sure you find others ports of entry initially. Use your Golden Network for introductions. Then, if one person blocks you, you can ask someone else to introduce you up and out.
5. Don’t block yourself. Unless someone says, “You will go no further,” continue to proceed up and out with your interviews. Don’t assume someone will get upset. If you do, you’re blocking yourself. Let him or her tell you, “Do not go past me.” If someone does get upset, apologize. It will not ruin your chances forever.
6. When a hard block is issued, it’s because the person hasn’t bought into you or what you’re offering yet. You are perceived as a possible loss to her. What if her boss likes your solution and she doesn’t. Worse, what if she likes what you have, but thinks her boss won’t like your solution? Ask what her concern, issue or loss is. Then, ask what she recommends you do.
Tak’n It to the Streets
1. For your next sales pursuit or lead, what will you say to your first contact before you’re finished to indicate that you will also have to meet the other decision makers?
“I know your buy-in is critical, but I will need to speak with others involved before I can go further with pricing, etc.”
2. What will you say when the person clearly states you are not to go further?
“It seems you are concerned with me speaking with others. Please explain your concerns.” After they tell you, ask, “What do you suggest I do to alleviate these concerns?”
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