25 Years of Opening Prospect Doors – What I’ve Learned

By Caryn Kopp, Chief Door Opener® at Kopp Consulting, LLC

I’m proud to announce that Kopp Consulting and our popular Door Opener® Service (we get our clients in the door with their prospects for the first meeting) just started our 25th year in business. What began as a good idea which most every business needs (getting more meetings with the right prospects) went from a company of 1 (me) to a company of 40, a 3x Inc. 5000 winner, EO member, WPO member, Enterprising Women advisory board member and so many clients who now have met their important prospects.

I was our first Door Opener. Although most people (including many salespeople) would rather put a stick in their eye than do the job of prospecting, it is by far my favorite thing to do. In fact, my first cold calling job was at the age of 11. The family I babysat for owned a franchise company and asked if I would like to make calls and get them appointments. I found I really enjoyed initiating conversations with people I didn’t know, giving them new information to consider and hearing them say, “yes!” What I have learned over these years, for countless industries, targeting countless different prospect groups at the executive level, is that if you have something important to say to someone important, you CAN initiate a phone call or a well written, personalized email and start a conversation which results in a meeting.

People ask me why Kopp Consulting’s Door Openers are successful getting initial meetings when others struggle with this aspect of sales. In fact, one of our clients hired us to open doors for his sales team after being told by them that certain meetings were impossible to get. Well, those meetings were the first ones we landed! If you are reading this and you are not getting the prospect meetings you and your business deserve, the situation is not going to fix itself. If you want a different result, you must consider doing something different to get it. The question is what to do which is different?

Those struggling to get more of the right meetings likely have a problem in one (or more) of 5 Key Planks of Door Opening Success. You either aren’t targeting the right prospects (or your seller’s prospect lists aren’t populated with the right prospects), you aren’t using sales messaging which is compelling enough to pique the interest of the right decision makers so they WANT to meet you, you can’t effectively answer the top objections prospects have, you don’t have the right person (the Door Opener) doing the prospecting work or that right person is not doing the right things (which includes spending enough time) to get the desired results. In fact, your issue could be a combination of a few of these planks.

If you know who to target but don’t say the right things when you speak with these prospects, what’s the point of doing outreach at all? Success will be a fluke, not a repeatable process. If you have the right target and the right message but you can’t answer their objections, what’s the point of doing outreach? If you can’t overcome the objection, you won’t get in the door. But let’s say you do all the strategy work and have nailed target, sales message and answers for objections but the person you have tasked with the job of opening doors either can’t open the doors or won’t do the work? Or, perhaps they can open the doors and have been successful doing so, yet now are so busy closing sales that they lack time to open more doors? My point is there are blind spots in each of these planks and it’s critical to diagnose your situation correctly, so you can implement the right solution to keep the top of your funnel full.

Managers who don’t really understand the job of Door Opening don’t realize that it is a certain kind of hunter who is a cracker jack Door Opener. These are people who don’t only open doors when their pipelines are empty, they do it all the time because they like it, find it fun, and want to spend their time doing this kind of work. It is a DNA thing. I can train someone’s sales team to be better than they are, but I can’t train them to love this part of sales. I can’t train them to have different DNA.

What can be done about this? You can pair a great sales hunter/rainmaker/technical seller with a Door Opener® and watch the magic happen. Companies outsource the Door Opening to us (our Door Openers represent our clients as if they were a member of our client’s team) because we know how to hire Door Openers, we know how to set up the strategy, prepare the right prospect list and land the important meetings. We’ve been doing this for 25 years! We get the doors open so our clients can close more sales.

Companies have spent a lot of time thinking about their ICP but little time thinking about strategies for identifying target filters that can actually reduce sales cycle time. That is a standard part of the strategy we do in the 2 weeks of preparation before we launch a Door Opener program.

I’ve found that managers of those doing the door opening lack recent experience doing this work which makes them ill prepared to help their sellers improve results. Things have changed since the pandemic and what worked before doesn’t always work now.

Decision Makers will tell you if you want a relationship with them, you must approach them in a highly personalized way. They will tell you not to expect a response on the first or second try. They will say you can’t say the same thing more than once. What Decision Makers say will make the difference in getting the meeting, but it is not what most sellers do.

Below is a summary of the top discoveries I’ve made about Door Opening in the first 25 years of our business:

1. Not every great sales hunter is a great Door Opener. (learn more)

2. Managers (and trainers) who have not done the work of Door Opening in the last 3 years (especially since the pandemic) are likely teaching outdated strategies and tactics which may not work now.

3. Those who say cold calling (let’s rename cold calling to “calling those you don’t know”) doesn’t work, likely haven’t done it correctly. If it didn’t work, we wouldn’t be in business 25 years later.

4. There are new metrics for sales, which I call Kopp Sales Effectiveness Metrics™, which, when monitored, will help sellers course correct and accelerate meeting results. Don’t lose out to competitors who are monitoring these metrics. (learn more)

5. The phrase “Lead Generation” means different things to different people. Not every form of lead generation (i.e. email marketing alone or email marketing with low level SDRs doing calls) will result in meetings with executive level prospects. If you are going to outsource, make the right decision based on that which WILL WORK with YOUR TARGET. (learn more)

6. Most sellers rely too heavily (and sometimes exclusively) on email, which does not create relationships with prospects. If you want a relationship with a prospect, pick up the phone (in addition to email) and call them. When you do, be prepared to say something impactful FOR THEM. If you rely solely on your “value prop” for this, you will likely come up short. (learn more)

7. While many say that it takes 8-10 touchpoints to reach a prospect (which is true), most sellers stop reaching out long before that. Continuity wins, as long as it’s a relationship building approach. (learn more)

8. Your best clients and centers of influence from before may not be your best ones now. (learn more)

9. Those who raise their hands in response to your marketing initiatives may not be the exact right prospects for you. Just because an opportunity falls in your lap doesn’t mean it’s worth pursuing. (learn more)

10. It’s not only about who you know. It is also about who NEEDS TO KNOW YOU. If you only focus on those who you know or those who raise their hands in response to your marketing efforts, you may never meet the top prospects who have the ability to change your life. (learn more)

If you would like more meetings with prospects and your company can close sales when you meet the right prospects, it makes sense to have a conversation about how outsourcing Door Opening can help you accelerate growth and allow your employees to spend more time closing sales.

CARYN KOPP is the Chief Door Opener at Kopp Consulting, whose Door Opener® Service helps clients get in the door for initial meetings with executive level decision makers. Her book, Biz Dev Done Right is an Amazon best seller. She also is the author of The Path to The Cash!® The Words You NEED to Bypass Those Darned Prospect Objections. She is a member of the Enterprising Women Advisory Board, a past recipient of the Enterprising Women of the Year Award and was named to the Enterprising Women Top 20 in 20 Years. Kopp Consulting is a 3x Inc 5000 winner and has been named Sales Outsourcing Provider of the Year. Reach her at www.koppconsultingusa.com.

Curious how our Door Openers could help you reach your sales goals?

Send a message or call us today for a consultation at 908.781.7546  

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