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September 11, 2018

How to get to the decision-maker

I have to tell you about my favorite client. He’s a retired doctor in his “second act,” helping doctors and health systems avoid burdensome insurance processes.

He’s also my Dad.

(Want to see his website? Check it out here. Bonus – head to the About Bob page to see a pic of my parents.)

The best part about coaching my Dad is watching him learn a new skill, struggle a little bit, and ultimately figure out how to do it the right way (it’s really endearing.)

One area where he’s spent a lot of time is learning how to get to the right decision-maker inside the companies he’s targeting.

And there was one instance in particular that I want to share with you…

One of my Dad’s client types are health systems. These are HUGE companies, and getting to the right person is hard.

So here’s exactly how my Dad got connected to the right person among thousands.

In January, my Dad contacted a friend to tell her about the work he’s doing now. She used to work in the legal department of a big health system, and he asked her for the name the right person who would handle this work. She gave him the name of the the Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

Contact count: 1

For the next two months, he tried to make contact with the CMO, but the CMO’s admin kept saying he was away or tied up. After a couple months, he decided to try another route.

Contact count: 2

Months elapsed: 2

His next approach was to contact a physican friend who’s part of a large group of physicians that was purchased by this same huge hospital system. The friend loved what my Dad is doing, and referred him to the president of the physician group.

Contact count: 3

Months elapsed: 3

My Dad then contacted the president of the physican group, who responded in May. He liked the idea, but said that decisions for what my Dad does are made at the corporate level, not in his group. He said my Dad could speak with the office manager in corporate, who may be able to help.

Contact count: 4
Months elapsed: 5

In June, my Dad reached out to the office manager and asked him for the right person who would handle this work. The name he gave was the Chief Medical Officer in charge of Physician Services.

Contact count: 5

Months elapsed: 6

In July, my Dad dashed off an email to the CMO in charge of Physician Services, who wrote him back immediately. He asked my Dad to come in for an in-person meeting as soon as he could.

Right person: REACHED!

Seven months, and five WRONG people, just to get to the right person. But once he got to the right person? The response was immediate.

If you’re selling in to companies and you’re worried that you’re not talking to the right person, here are a few guidelines to help you:

  1. Talk to anyone you can. Don’t worry if it’s not the right person – even if it’s someone who works in the company mailroom, you have to start somewhere. Connect with them and just start the process.
  2. Make the ask. Don’t assume that someone will know that you’re looking for an introduction. Be explicit, explain who you’re looking to connect with, and ask to be connected to them.
  3. Think beyond the CEO. Yes, the CEO is the uber-decision-maker, but it’s just as important to have a strong “champion” – someone who will advocate for you inside the company. Working with a champion can be more effective than trying to get to the ultimate decision-maker, because the champion will give you their attention, where the CEO (or other C-level executive) won’t have time.
  4. Keep at it. These things can take time. Stay with it, don’t give up, and you’ll get to the right person.

Here’s how my Dad explains it:

“Often getting a foot in the door of a company to explain and sell your service means finding out which door to open.  It may take several tries from different angles. Starting at the top may work in some businesses, while with other customers it is more successful to start lower on the ladder. Friends and acquaintances at that company may be helpful, maybe not.”

To your success,



P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here are three ways I can help you.

1. Join the free Smart Gets Paid Group and connect with women entrepreneurs who are learning how to get clients too.
This is my new Facebook community where badass women like you learn how to get the clients they want, without feeling salesy. Click here to join.
2. Learn how to get new clients without feeling salesy, in 10 weeks
If getting new clients is on your to-do list, but you’re not sure where to start, I can help. You’ll learn step-by-step how to get the clients you want, without feeling salesy. And you’ll get the support you need to put learning into practice in your business.  Just reply to this email and put “Clients” in the subject line and I’ll get you the details.
3. Work with me privately

If you’d like to work directly with me to learn how to sell, get paid more, and get the clients you really want, just reply to this message and put “Private” in the subject line. Tell me a little about your business and what you’re struggling with when it comes to selling, and I’ll get you all the details.


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