March 20th, 2019 | by

I’m Caryn Kopp, Chief Door Opener. And today on DiscoverOrg’s Whiteboard series, we’re going to DISCOVER what I call the Five Planks of Door Opening Success.

If you can hit these five goalposts, you’ll get more responses and more opportunities to get in the door – before your competitors!

Watch the video or read on and learn how to:

  1. Find the right target
  2. Nail the message
  3. Prepare to handle objections
  4. Find the right Door Opener
  5. Execute…the right way

Did you ever wonder why, despite your best efforts, you’re not getting the meetings that you really want with prospects? Or maybe you’re not getting all of the meetings you really want. Or maybe you’re getting meetings … but they’re not with the people that you want.

How frustrating is that?

how sales can get in the door


If you’re not getting all the meetings you feel you deserve, there’s likely a problem in one or more of the Five Key Planks of Door Opening Success.

Today we’re going to talk about what those planks are – and I’m going to tell you what our door openers do to land the important meetings for our clients.

What do you do? And what do you avoid, in order to get the optimal results for time spent prospecting?

Plank #1: Finding the right target


Here’s the most common error: targeting too wide.

If you’re targeting everyone, you’re actually targeting no one. What can you do to reduce the universe of prospects so that you could focus on only those who are more likely to say yes sooner to the meeting and yes sooner to the sale?

There are filters like, size of company, level of decision maker, geography, industry niche … that list goes on. But there are three additional filters that we use in order to narrow the playing field down to get to those people who will say yes sooner.

If you remember that Venn Diagram from fifth grade, here are three additional filters that you can use:

1. Willingly pay

Which prospect groups will willingly pay what you want to charge for your products and services? Some buyers are just going to buy on price.

How much more efficient would you be if you didn’t even talk to them when you’re prospecting, but only spoke to the people who are more likely to pay what you want to charge?

2. Obvious solution

For which groups of prospects are you the obvious solution? They would never take a step without you included once they know you exist.

3. Urgency

Which groups of prospects are going to feel more urgency around taking that meeting with you and then taking the next steps to make a decision? There are some prospects out there who are not going to make decisions in the timeframe that you are going to find acceptable. What if you didn’t include those in your prospecting? Find out what factors create urgency and focus on those prospects.


When you have these three factors, you are going to be focused on your sweet spot.

PRO TIP: Just because your current clients are your current clients does not mean that they are your best prospects, especially for those companies who have grown by referral.

You may be able to sell bigger deals. You may be able to sell more profitable deals.

Take a look at what’s out there and don’t necessarily replicate your current customers when you’re deciding on your strategy for targeting.

Read it: How to Create an Ideal Customer Profile

Plank #2: Nail the right message

Some buyers are just going to buy on price


A common error is that people think the marketing message and the sales message are the same thing.

They’re not. They’re different. The marketing message is meant for the masses. It’s what’s in your advertising. It’s what’s on your website. It’s your value proposition. It’s meant for a general audience.

The sales message, on the other hand, is meant for one person: It is the spoken word. It is the email for one person, designed to move that person from one place in his or her thinking to the next.

If your sales messaging is not doing that often enough for you it’s time to spend more time thinking about the words and the phrases that you’re using.

Salespeople spend lots of time thinking about why their product is different … but here’s my experience: It doesn’t matter why you’re different. Prospects actually don’t care why you’re different. They only care why you are of more value to them.

If you can articulate why you’re of value to them in words that are compelling, you will get the meeting sooner than other people who aren’t doing that.

Watch it: [VIDEO] 4 Steps to Creating a Winning Value Prop

Plank 3: Prepare to handle objections

5 ways sales can get in the door


I’m not talking about just any objection answers, but the right objection answers.

There are Three P’s when it comes to overcoming objections: 1.) prethink, 2.) prepare, and 3.) practice.

focus on only those who are more likely to say yes sooner to the meeting and yes sooner to the sale

Now if you spend even three minutes thinking about what objections you’ll face before you walk into a selling situation, you can come up with probably 90% of the objections that will come your way. And if you can prethink what they are you can also prepare the right answers.

But that’s not enough. You need to take it one step further than just having the answers. You need to be able to practice them so that you can use them conversationally in a performance moment.

If your company does not have an objections manual that is shared with all the sellers on your team, I highly recommend it. Go to our blog at and download a one sheet that gives you all the steps of how to make that objections manual.

PRO TIP: Last point on objections. The objection you hear isn’t always the objection you are facing. It’s important to be able to ask questions to pick out which objection it is, so you can get to the next step.

Read it: The 5-Point Guide to Handling Sales Objections

Plank 4: Find the right Door Opener

The farmers grow the business and the hunters find the business


Many people know the difference between the hunters and the farmers. The farmers grow the business and the hunters find the business.

Here’s the common error: Many don’t know that within the world of hunter salespeople, there are different kinds of hunters:

  • Closers: There are those who are great at going on the meetings and closing the sales. We, in our world, we call them the closers.
  • Openers: There are others who are intuitively great, got it in their DNA, to open up new conversations with people they don’t know. Whether it’s through cold calling, warm calling, networking, conferences, trade shows, they just have it in their DNA and they want to do this part of the job. We call them the openers.

If you are a salesperson who’s responsible for both opening and closing, and you consider yourself a closer, it’s probably hard for you to sit there and get the opening done.

Here are a couple of tips for you:

  1. Block time on your calendar to make sure that you’re making room for opening, and don’t let anything else get in the way. Hammer away at that list of prospects. Don’t mix the new prospect work with the work of current clients, or even prospects that are later in the funnel. There is a flow and a cadence to prospecting and you want to make sure to protect that time.
  2. Pair a great door opener with a great closer, and watch the magic happen. The door opener will make sure that there are new opportunities, constantly, coming into the pipeline. Give them to the closer and get them closed!

A common error is that people think the marketing message and the sales message are the same thing


You see, here we are on this chasm and the bridge is almost all the way across, but there’s one plank that’s missing: If somebody were to step on this bridge, it’s going to fall in.

You need all five planks in order to get optimal results, to get the doors open, and to get to those bags of cash.

Plank 5: Execution done right

If you don’t set enough meetings with the right people, you’ll never meet your sales goals


Here is the last plank that we need, which is the Right Execution.

By right execution, I mean the right amount of time is spent by the right person doing the right activities.

Make enough time for activities (or don’t bother)

If you have time, let’s say on a Friday, and you say, “Okay, I have four hours, I’m going to make a bunch of prospect calls. I’m all excited to get that done.” … But then you get busy, and you don’t come back to that list again? You might as well have not called them in the first place.

The very first piece is making sure that you’re spending enough time.

Read it: How to Sales Outreach with Opportunity Data

Do the right activities (or don’t bother)

The next is making sure that enough time is spent doing the right activities.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Voicemail/email in combination. Very important. Email alone is not going to do it. Voicemail alone is not going to do it. Email/voicemail in combination.
  2. You cannot use the same message more than once. You must vary the message and deepen it over time.
  3. Don’t try to get around the assistants, enlist their support. They can be very helpful if you let them be.
  4. If you’ve tried several weeks, or a couple of months, to reach somebody, voicemail/email, your message is of value, not getting anywhere, you can send an email that says, “Knowing how busy you are, I thought I would pick a time and see if this works for you, please expect a calendar invite from me. If the time doesn’t work, propose another.” But you can’t do that on the first try, that’s after several attempts.
  5. Another tip for you is leverage weekends, especially for the senior level decision makers. Leave a voicemail/email combo on a Sunday and ask the decision maker to give the assistant permission to put you on the calendar. At 9:00 AM Monday, call the assistant and ask if he or she has received permission. Often, they have – and that’s a great way to get your meeting right on the calendar.

Let’s recap.

We know that strategy before execution is the right way to do this: Ready, aim, fire. Not: Ready, fire, aim.

Just because you have great information and great contacts does not mean that you’re going to get the meeting unless you select the exact right prospects. Have the exact spot on message. Have spot-on answers for objections. Have the right person doing the work. That right person is spending enough time on the right activities to make a difference. And then the doors open much easier.

That’s the Five Planks of Door Opening Success. I’m Karen Kopp, Chief Door Opener of Kopp Consulting. We’re best known for the Door Opener Service, where we get our clients in the door with their prospects. And for Sales Messaging, that gets the right doors open.

We are so thrilled to be partners with DiscoverOrg. It’s the best data in the world – we use it in our own programs!

Thank you for joining us for our Whiteboard Session today!

If you have a particular question about door opening, post your comment and your question. If you have a particular tip that you think everybody should know, post that here. Subscribe to our Youtube channel, share it on LinkedIn – and join us for another DISCOVER whiteboard session!

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