In Chapter Three of my book, Close Deals Faster: The 15 Shortcuts of the Asher Sales Method, I talk about the importance of using “coaches” or “insiders.” In this post I will explain what these are, why they make a difference, and how to close a deal by leveraging the information they provide.
What’s an insider?
An insider is not simply someone who is connected to your target. In Strategic Selling by Robert B. Miller and Stephen E. Heiman, they list five criteria to define an insider (referred to as a “coach” in their work).
These five criteria are:
- An insider is someone inside the prospect’s organization (or very close to it)
- They are credible within the prospect’s organization
- They are knowledgeable of the organization’s requirements
- They are a person with whom you have credibility
- They want you to get the job
Why use insiders on every deal?
Insiders function as powerful referral sources. They go beyond giving you suggestions of people to call on – they have knowledge of the prospect company’s requirements and have a strong desire to help you land the account. In some cases, they can actually guide you in how to close a deal with the buyer!
The power of an insider is clearly demonstrated by surveys which show that over 80 percent of executives are likely to meet with salespeople through inside recommendations. A mere referral helps you land a meeting about 40 percent of the time. And a cold approach without an insider will only work around 20 percent of the time.
Multiplying your chances of getting a meeting and potential sale by 400% seems worthwhile, doesn’t it?
How to leverage insiders
Insiders want to help you win the business. They can help by:
- Talking positively about you to the prospect
- Recommending your company
- Acting as a “challenger” and suggesting that the prospect consider new products and services (including yours) to grow their business
- Providing an introductory call or email
- Jumping on a three-way to vouch for you
- Attending the first sales call to break the ice
- Giving you information about the prospect’s company and requirements
- Sharing personal information about the buyer (Do they golf? Favorite restaurants? Personal values? Temperament?)
- Strategizing with you on how to close a deal with that specific buyer
As you can see, by using your insiders for a little “spy work,” you can approach your prospect with a tremendous amount of information and leverage. It pays to keep your insiders happy.
How to get insiders
Insiders can be employees at the target company, a business colleague, a relative, even a poker buddy or fellow gym member. Don’t discount anyone, or show bias against the “little people,” as they might hold the key to a sale.
SHORTCUT: If you don’t have insiders, use social media and business partners to get them. Hint: LinkedIn and Facebook reveal shared connections, so explore these first.
I simply let them know we have a shared connection, and would they mind sharing some information with me. Offer to buy lunch or a coffee, or offer a referral of your own. It’s easier than you think!
For more tips on how to close a deal using insiders, read Close Deals Faster: The 15 Shortcuts of the Asher Sales Method.