Today’s post is by Stu Heinecke, the best-selling author of How to Get a Meeting with Anyone and host of Contact Marketing Radio. He is also the co-creator of NASP’s “The Power of Contact Marketing” training program, a Wall Street Journal cartoonist, hall of fame-nominated marketer, and founder of Contact, a first-of-its-kind contact marketing agency dedicated to helping sales teams connect with their most important prospects and assigned accounts.
Some people are just hard to reach. And it usually follows that the more important they are, the more difficult it is to break through to them. If that describes the critical contacts in your assigned account list, you’ve got a problem.
There’s no mystery here. Important prospects are constantly flooded with attempts to connect – to hear the next sales rep’s pitch. Which is not the way busy executives like to spend their time.
Audacity can play a key role in helping you break through, if it’s done with a sincere and authentic focus on the target executive’s needs and priorities, and if it’s done with a great deal of creativity.
When Edgy Conversations blogger and author Dan Waldschmidt reaches out to CEOs of troubled companies to offer his turnaround services, he certainly exhibits audacity in his approach. When he spots a news story of a missed earnings estimate, Dan has a beautiful sword made and sends it to the company’s CEO with a handwritten note offering to help in the next battle. Each sword campaign costs $1,000, but Waldschmidt reports an essentially 100 percent contact rate. And audacity has a lot to do with it.
When the NoWait app launched, they delivered personalized video messages on custom-packaged iPads to the CEOs of the top 30 restaurant chains in America. Their entire launch campaign went to just 30 people, but their audacity was well rewarded. When the software sales rep used a pigeon to connect with one of the most famous CEOs in the world and won a $250,000 contract, that was audacious. When I send personalized cartoons on giant postcards to C-level executives, they, too, appreciate the audacity and respond positively.
But no one is more audacious than Don Novello, the actor known as SNL’s Father Guido Sarducci and the author of the Lazlo Letters book series. Under the pen name Lazlo Toth, Novello has been reaching out to the powerful and famous for the past three decades, employing a combination of messy hand-typed letters festooned with American flag stickers and an abiding sense of devotion to the person he’s addressing. And yet, there’s always that gotcha catch to any letter he sends.
And no one is out of bounds. He reaches heads of state, politicians at every level, even members of the royal family. And big corporations. Once you respond to one of his letters, they just keep coming with one awkward question after another. It’s very funny stuff.
In the interview below, Novello shares his thoughts on the value of audacity, mischief, and persistence when connecting with someone important. Like your assigned account list and top prospects.