By Gary Walker, EVP of Channel Sales & Operations, CustomerCentric Selling®The Sales Training Company

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at

working-at-deskAre you having difficulty engaging with the senior executives you would like to speak with? If so, here is something you can immediately put into action to improve your engagement rates.

If you weren’t already aware, the most effective means of engaging with a senior executive with whom you want to speak to is through a referral or an introduction from someone who knows that executive. The fact is most salespeople understand the power of referrals but don’t obtain them; or of if they do obtain the referrals, they utilize them ineffectively. However, did you know that LinkedIn contains a feature that allows you to automate finding, requesting, authoring, and obtaining that referral/introduction? Well it can.  I don’t have time here to fully explain how to use it, but I’ve included a link here that will connect you directly to LinkedIn’s online help forum.

Jumping to the next step, let’s assume that you’ve used LinkedIn’s referral/introduction capability and you just obtained the referral you were seeking.  Now what? 

Most email client applications (i.e. Microsoft Outlook) provide you with the ability to Request a Meeting. As soon as you have obtained the introduction/referral, rather than picking up the telephone and attempting a ‘warm call’ or sending a ‘warm email’ (two of the least effective means of engaging with senior executives), instead send the executive you’re attempting to reach a Request for Meeting. Why?  A Request a Meeting

  • is different than email
  • warrants the recipients’ attention
  • requires immediate action by the recipient (accept, decline, or propose an alternate date and time)
  • allows you to reference the introduction
  • allows you to author and deliver a relevant message with your request (think TRIGGERING EVENT)
  • allows you to include a call to action

The tactical use of LinkedIn’s Request An Introduction and Outlook’s Request a Meeting, when used in parallel will enhance your prospecting and business development success. Don’t be afraid to try it.

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