Earn the Right to Sell

If you’re going to be selling to large multinational organizations you need to have earned the right to be in front of the power brokers and decision makers.

So how do you “earn the right”? Many salespeople and managers think you need to have established relationships, but neither those relationships nor referrals are necessary prerequisites. They can help and often do, but all too often the lack thereof is used as an excuse for a lack of contact.

Dale Carnegie said it best in the preface to his seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People, that the investment in his book was worthwhile if you “gain a better appreciation for the other person’s point of view.” That statement written nearly 100 years ago continues to help sales professionals sell to organizations large and small. Here are the three documents you need to earn the right to sell into large publicly-traded companies and gain a greater appreciation of the other person’s point of view:

1) Investor Presentations & Transcripts
These presentations (available at the company’s Investor Relations site) and their transcripts (available at seekingalpha.com) offer the most concise overview into the company executives’ highest priorities: the industry drivers, current business initiatives and operational issues impacting their organization.

2) Annual reports & 10-Ks
These documents (available at the company’s Investor Relations site, SEC.gov & SEDAR.com [Canadian companies]) offer greater depth into the business segments, processes, operations of the organization and their subsequent results as well as their strategies moving forward.

3) Annual proxy
These documents (available at SEC.gov & SEDAR.com [Canadian companies]) contain two critical components. First are the biographies or board members and executives. Second – and most important – are the compensation factorials for those named executives. These factors cascade through the organizations aligning shareholder, executive and employee value. Compensation when aligned appropriately drives the correct behaviors through the organization to the benefit of all.

If you’re serious about getting into your clients’ heads, use these three documents. These three more than any others will help you gain better insight into clients’ organizations, their top priorities and greatest challenges. Knowing these business requirements will help you to earn the right to meet with those executives, help them solve their issues and achieve their business objectives.