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"Equal business stature, that's all I want--to be treated as an equal. I have earned that right. Yet to a gatekeeper or prospect, I am the lowest form of humanity." So lamented a friend of mine over a recent lunch of burgers, fries and a heaping plate of frustrated sales efforts. As a sales trainer, it's frustrating for me as well to listen to such stories when I know that the man I was sitting across from--like others-- have all the requisite skills of a trusted advisor. Unfortunately, when they engage in the work of finding new prospects, their self-esteem gets a whack. Prospects can be cold. Tough. Gatekeepers can be worse. Let's be fair. No one likes taking calls from salespeople. Not you, not me, not anyone. Gatekeepers take calls all day long and who can blame them for instantly checking out at the sound of an unrecognizable voice ("Saaaaaaaalesman!"). In the salesperson's defense, however, gatekeepers are paid to take phone calls. While part of that pay means keeping salespeople at bay, a bigger part is to discern who may be useful to the organization. Gatekeepers are not paid to unilaterally dump potential business partners, especially at the expense of a business plan. So how do you develop Equal Business Stature (EBS)? Act as though you're the president. Develop an internal presidential mindset because presidents talk to presidents. And get referred in--multiple times. Being referred in says "success," says you're a trusted advisor, and it says you're different. Two things have to happen to make EBS work: You have to develop a belief that you're cut from the same cloth as any president or CEO, and you have to have a rock-solid referral strategy, complete with multiple referral partners. Want a shortened selling cycle? Develop your EBS
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