Caryn Kopp, Chief Door Opener, Kopp Consulting

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Caryn Kopp, Chief Door Opener, Kopp Consulting

Caryn is the Chief Door Opener® at Kopp Consulting whose Door Opener® Service has helped thousands of business leaders and sales people secure initial meetings with high level decision makers in almost every major company including P&G, GE, Merck, Verizon, Kraft, Target, CBS, and the list goes on. 

A best-selling author, nationally recognized speaker, and an expert in Business Development, Caryn can be seen in Inc., Forbes and Newsweek. She has spoken at leadership programs and is a faculty member of Verne Harnish’s Gazelles Growth Institute. Caryn is the author of The Path to The Cash!® and Biz Dev Done Right which pinpoints the blind spots in the sales process and gives critical strategies for getting Business Development right. Kopp Consulting has been recognized for two consecutive years on the Inc. 5000.


[00:00:01] You're listening to Scaling Up Services where we speak with entrepreneurs authors business experts and thought leaders to give you the knowledge and insights you need to scale your service based business faster and easier. And now here is your host Business Coach Bruce Eckfeldt.

[00:00:22] Welcome everyone. This is Scaling Up Services. I'm Bruce Eckfeldt. I'm your host our guest today is Caryn Kopp. Caryn is Chief Door Opener and we're going to find out a little bit more on what that means. She's also author of Biz Dev done right which is an Amazon best seller now and this is exciting conversation for me because I think this really touches on one of the biggest challenges particularly in service based businesses around selling which is getting the conversation started. So you're going to talk about that.

[00:00:48] Caryn welcome to the program. Thank you. It's great to be here.

[00:00:51] So when do we start. I would like to start with guests. Just kind of talk a little bit about their professional background how they got into this.

[00:00:58] And then let's understand a little bit more about what does being a chief. Door opener me what do you do. How do you help clients. What is the service actually look like for people that are looking to increase sales.

[00:01:09] Right.

[00:01:09] So as you said in the opener I mean what people tell me is the one of the most difficult parts of business development bar none is getting that first conversation started especially when you're talking about getting started with high level decision makers who are responsible for big engagements. So that seems to be the hardest part. And when people come to me and they tell me that they're having trouble getting in more doors I tell them that if they are having trouble getting in as many doors as they like there's probably a problem either in who they're targeting what they're saying their readiness for answering objections. The person who's actually doing the door opening and we can talk about that because not everybody should be doing door opening if they're not either experienced at it skilled at it or like it. And then the process those people are using can either be successful or a complete waste of time. So one of those areas typically needs to be improved and sometimes it's more than one. But how did I get into this role in this business now this is our 20th year in business that's how consulting that we're best known for the door open our service where we represent our clients and get them the meetings that they can't get for themselves and how it all started. I. My background is business development and consumer packaged goods brand management so I have the marketing side and I've sat on the decision maker side of the desk and then I've also done the high level business development where I've gotten myself in difficult doors have those meetings followed up closed and and all of that.

[00:02:46] But the part of sales that I love best is door opening. I have a curiosity around new people. I'm interested in them then I want to start new conversations. And I don't have to leverage my network to do it. Actually I would prefer to identify the exact right prospects for me or for my clients and then open up conversations with them. And I don't need to have to leverage a relationship in order to do it and not everybody is good at that. But if you your clients have a specific set of targets that are exactly right for them and they want to open the conversation at high levels it's very likely that those high level decision makers are not going to conferences they are not going to trade shows and they don't respond to inbound marketing. They pass it to someone at a lower level. So if that's the case then how do you open up a conversation with that person. Given the fact that they're not that accessible and door opening we've found is is a successful way to do that.

[00:03:47] If you do it right I think it's an interesting point just in terms. You know these folks probably are not going to the conference is not going to the events. They're not you're not going to shake their hand at a mixer for for that kind of strata of contacts and know the high level important senior folks there really is very few ways to get to them and their e-mails are heavily filtered. There's lots of barriers lots of gates and getting through that can be a real challenge.

[00:04:12] You mentioned something in the beginning of this which I thought was interesting. It's the first thing it sounds like that's really important is figuring out which doors do you really want to go knock down or try to open.

[00:04:20] How do you identify targets and how do you help a client figure out. Is this really the right door is this really the right person that you should be trying to contact or not.

[00:04:28] Yeah. And that's a really important first question or one of the first couple of questions to even address.

[00:04:34] And most people get this wrong because they don't spend enough time identifying their target in as narrow a way as they could in order to create optimal success. They might have success but it's not necessarily optimal success which in our world means efficient success. And so a couple of points to note there where some people can take a look at their level clients and understand why those clients became clients of theirs what was it about what they were looking for in the market if they couldn't find with their current vendors or with the people that they knew in their world that they needed to start a conversation with someone new. So when we're helping our our clients understand who to target we start looking there. And we will interview our clients clients and find out why they said yes what was happening in their world that made them feel that the people they knew could not solve their issues or help them take advantage of opportunities.

[00:05:32] It's not always about pain right and sometimes it's about opportunities.

[00:05:36] And so we we look there and we also look at which of those targets will be feeling more urgency than others to start a conversation they may or may not be ready to buy.

[00:05:48] But we are looking to start conversations because the rest of it will naturally follow. We also want to identify those prospects who will find our clients to be an obvious solution if prospects don't find our clients to be obvious solutions on the road to the closed sale is particularly difficult. And we also want to identify those prospects who will willingly pay very rare that someone comes to me they're the low price swishing in the market. They usually want to sell on value but not all prospects will pay for value. And so if you spend your time talking to people who will never pay then you're going to spin your wheels and waste your time. One other important part of this is that sometimes the clients that our clients have are not optimal clients.

[00:06:33] So yes. So we don't necessarily always want to replicate exactly there they're a level client base because they're a level client base may represent a fraction of the revenue and profit that they could have if they set their sights on bigger targets.

[00:06:50] And how does that work. What are the words that you hear from your clients clients and when you do these interviews. What is the indicator for you in that conversation that this is a good ideal client for this customer or not that they are a good prospect and that they represent a good example of the type of friendship that you could go out and replicate. What is it. What is it that you're looking for in that conversation when you hear from them.

[00:07:15] Yes. So for every client it's going to be different of course.

[00:07:18] And I'm looking to hear it from more than one of my clients clients that we interview so we'll typically interview three to five representative level clients of our clients or for those clients who have aspiration to go after bigger prospects and we will go out to the market and sometimes we'll find people who may not be clients of theirs but who are representative a level clients if they have aspirational goals and we'll ask them what was happening in your world at the time you felt that your current vendor and those you know in your local sphere we're not going to be the right solution for you. And we typically here do different things that are going on sometimes if there is a trigger moment a certain catalyst of change internally sometimes it's change externally that's going on in the market where all of a sudden they realize that you know well there are lots of companies that could do X there are not that many companies that could do Y and why is really what they need what we need to know what y is and that's why we interview a few people and then we're looking for common themes that will help our clients if they want to sell larger packages or for those clients who sell something that's one and done to help them to add an annuity to what they're selling. Not all prospects will go for that but which prospects will so that we can maximize and create an optimal outcome for the time we're spending for them on business development.

[00:08:46] It sounds like this is at least what you're describing is is a lot more than just like cut away in the door it's really kind of the strategy behind which doors are really going after and why and what I like to ask them with what's my plan and or service or packaging pricing.

[00:09:01] It sounds like you're doing quite a bit of consulting with that whole matchmaking process between product service and customer to help their client be much more successful.

[00:09:09] Well yes it is but it happens in a very short period of time because when let's say our our clients say I want this sized company this level of decision maker and this geography.

[00:09:20] So that is a great place to start. But then as they tell us what they're looking for we may make suggestions that are not off strategy but they may be more narrowly focused that will help them take whatever their offering is and be able to double that or one point of entry will lead them to five mutually exclusive budgets within any one new client organization for them thereby creating efficiency in business development where one point of entry gets them the maximum possible sale versus one point of entry getting them a fifth of what they could have had if they chose the right target to begin with.

[00:09:56] I mean yes there are many people who just are opening some doors and they're not necessarily the best stores or the right doors where they spend their money.

[00:10:06] I would say too many people are ready fire aim instead of ready aim fire. But if you aim first and if you spend just a little bit of time doesn't have to be years spent just a little bit of time on the strategy and the execution is that much easier. And getting to a closed sale will be that much faster than it will if you don't know what people find is that when they have a lot of prospects in the pipeline that they've met with and they've provided proposals and now they're stuck in a big black hole and they just can't get them to close.

[00:10:38] I say to those people think about your target. Were they ever really the right prospects to begin with. A lot of times the answer is No.

[00:10:46] So the strategy around figuring out which doors to open what kind of product service strategy you're going to go into that door with once it does open. Let's talk about the actual opening process itself. So is there a magic formula is there or are you using neuro linguistic programming. How do you actually get people to open that door.

[00:11:05] Let's talk about that kind of strategy or the mechanics right. OK.

[00:11:08] So there's one more part to talk about before we get to the mechanics which is incredibly important just like target is and that fails language.

[00:11:17] What is it that you're going to say.

[00:11:18] What is it that you're going to write to one individual to move that person from his or her thinking from one place to the next. And very few people spend as much time as necessary on this. This is not a value proposition value proposition is a marketing term and marketing is usually more broad marketing message and sales message are two different animals and they're not out of alignment with each other but the marketing message is meant for a broad audience. And the sales message sales language is meant for a very narrow audience. So it's really important to once you identify who you're going to talk to to figure out the themes of what you can say to them either in a voicemail which shouldn't read like a script like dialogue if you get them on the phone to get an outcome in 45 seconds or less that you want or in an email that's designed for one person and you can't ever deliver the same person the same voice mail in the same email twice. So it requires research on the individual and the company in the industry so that you can continually add new pieces of information that would be valuable together person and pique that person's curiosity to learn more and to learn more now. You don't want them to say oh this is interesting I'll learn about it in six months. That doesn't help.

[00:12:41] So it's an example to look as an example of this turning this information in or how you're kind of giving them value or these nuggets in this.

[00:12:47] Yeah.

[00:12:48] So let's take an example one that will that creates urgency and people ask me sometimes how do we create urgency and this is an easy example. But I think it will be relevant to figure out how to go about doing it for different industries. So in New Jersey a law was passed where companies have to have a nursing room for their employees. So we have a client who does commercial flooring and interiors. And so there are certain companies that are involved in expansion plans involved in redesigns and things like that. But their urgency factor just depends on what their budget is when they completed the last assignments. Once this regulation was passed now all of them have to be in compliance by a certain date. That creates urgency right there but only if you're on top of that and you added into the messaging to the right person. Now not all people are going to be right even though there are lots of companies in the state. Not all companies are going to embrace using an interior designer to create a wonderful space like that. So then we start looking at how do you narrow the target to companies that really care about the appearance of their offices maybe those that hire a workforce of younger people who are in childbearing years. So you see how you narrow the target and then you add that language is about making this creative space. And let's set a time to talk about this so that you can have this done in the right timeframe. But it's also in alignment with your brand and you say that of course to those people who care about that. So that gives you a feel for how to create urgency and to create a message that's right for certain individuals. Does that make sense.

[00:14:30] Yes it does and I think that's a good example because I think it kind of speaks to that idea like you really need to figure out what's going on to your prospects. What do they care about. What are they thinking about. What are the drivers for them and how to respond to them in the messaging. How do I connect with them in the messaging and I actually get that conversation going. It's a little bit about the mechanics or I guess forms of communication because I think I certainly know a lot of clients that kind of struggle with this or they are they literally going knocking on doors are they sending emails or they're trying to Coles. What's your take or what's your strategy or how do you help a client figure out what mode of outreach they should be using using given their situation and offering the clients.

[00:15:09] Well you know it will depend also on the level of decision maker.

[00:15:14] But let's just assume someone's going after a senior level decision maker and it's a relatively large engagement so in our world our clients would be outsourcing that part of the sales process to us. We represent them as if we were a member of their team and we open up these early stage conversations with prospects. And when we find one that's interested in learning more. Who's the right level. We go ahead and book a date and time for either an in-person meeting or a conference call. But for those companies who may not want to hire us to do that they want their people to do a better job. We tell them first of course make sure it's the right person. Make sure you know what you're going to say to this person. And then it's from the mechanic standpoint. It's a combination of voicemail and email. Email alone does not do it voice alone does not do it. Voice and email together are what does it. So and also continuity over time varying and deepening the message over time as well. So there is an article on on my blog. People can google and find called a six sentence voicemail. And it gives the breakdown of each sentence and what each sentence should be.

[00:16:27] And then a lot of people say to me I never leave a voicemail. And I would say that's a missed opportunity actually to leave a little bit of information and have the prospect know that there's a human behind this. I mean email is very impersonal regardless of what you write. When you add your voice to it automatically it becomes a human behind this. And even though the prospect may not listen to your entire message that's OK because they still hear your name your company name and it creates an impression and then it works in conjunction with the emails that you send. You want to be careful your emails are not too salty. My high level decision makers are skeptical people and they really just want to be able to get their jobs done more efficiently. They want to be able to add more value in less time so that they get promoted and they can achieve their goals as well. So those people on the other end are human too. It's really important to know that. Be careful what you write. If you're in a detail oriented business details really matter. They make grammar mistakes or typos or things like that. It communicates to your prospect that you're careless and that if you care so little about your relationship in this stage how are you going to be when you're a vendor. So be very very careful. You may be delivering 20 emails or 20 voicemails in the course of any one day but remember your prospect is only hearing one of yours you're only reading one of yours and it's very difficult if not impossible to overcome a negative impression.

[00:18:02] Yes and it ended early stage I agree.

[00:18:05] Yeah practice. I mean I when I'm in front of audiences I do a program called the five planks of door opening six that I play a voicemail that was left for me by a real seller. And it's beyond frighteningly bad.

[00:18:19] But the worst part about it is that guy's boss has no idea that this seller left this for me. And the impression it made for me of their company. I'll never do business with that company.

[00:18:31] Well now knowing who your lecturers I guess my audience goes Hey wait that's me again that's your story.

[00:18:43] There is a real reason that to leave that voicemails is they get forwarded to a thousand people as examples of not to do things exactly right.

[00:18:52] And they're very easy to fix. But for those leaders who are listening to our conversation today when is the last time you listen to an actual voicemail that one of your people left if you have the responsibility for rain making in your company in addition to leadership. When's the last time you listened to one of yours. It's easy to fix it's very eye opening and you don't get a second chance to make that impression.

[00:19:16] Anderson I found some of the best sales coaching I hadn't over time has been people are just giving me feedback on voicemails and stuff that I've lost. And it's it's usually very helpful. I mean you know sometimes they're they're finding things and I cringe a little bit like that. I didn't even think of that or I didn't even realize I was doing that. But you know generally there it's really helpful really corrective action that has been more successful so I wouldn't shy away from that whole kind of coaching doing post voice mail post email reviews and getting some feedback.

[00:19:45] Right. And we do that as well. Well for those people who may not want to hire us for door opening we'll create there.

[00:19:50] Door opening sales message and the answers for their objections. And then we train people to use the message. That's why all sales training is great. But at the sales training that starts with with training people in the message that they actually should be using is really the best kind of training to have. And then we also do workflow training with our clients because when you know the leaders who are listening should should really pay attention to those too is that when you're sellers are disposition of what happened in an actual live call into the CRM.

[00:20:24] They may be putting not interested but that doesn't mean that the prospect wasn't interested. It might just mean that the seller didn't do a good enough job creating interest and asking for a next step because the seller is not going to know that he or she didn't do that. So actually sitting with somebody while they're making a series of these calls is the best way to find this out and the leaders can do that themselves or they can hire hire us or somebody else to do that but not doing that could be mis diagnosis where this the leaders may think that there is a problem with something they sell or something else and they may fix that problem. But really the problem was the execution of the door opening which could be changed if it was diagnosed correctly.

[00:21:09] Yeah it's kind of the root cause analysis of what really was the problem is that the product was it the message was that the delivery wasn't the technique that was used. Good points I wanted to go back a little bit and sort of see what your thoughts were about some of these other communication technologies communication channels. The ones I'm thinking of hand or text most are thinking about sort of linked in Facebook. How do these fit in for you in terms of other ways to kind of get messages. Do you have any thoughts or strategies or how someone should or should not use those channels effectively.

[00:21:41] Yes I do. So of the 3 4 high level door opening for an early stage conversation with somebody you don't know LinkedIn is probably the best for that it can be done in conjunction with direct email voicemail communication. It's just an additional medium to use and so you can start a conversation with someone. If you ask someone to make an introduction be pretty clear as to whether the person you want to meet values the person you're asking to do the introducing. You know sometimes they don't have such a great relationship and that's a poor reflection on you. So just be careful about that. Something to be wary about we more and more people are reaching out early on through linked in to create a connection first and then they're taking the relationship deeper and the Blindspot here. The things that I have seen done not well is people doing that reach out and then too soon asking for a meeting or two soon becoming sales. This is just a very early stage conversation solely about value. Before you ask for something when you're doing this you really need to create value. You can tell the person you have something of value state what it is that you think might help in his or her role and if if this person would like that to go ahead and pass the email address along and you can pass it over the email but be really careful about how much you ask for early on.

[00:23:13] Facebook is more personal. Although I have seen people become Facebook friends and then message people will be a Facebook. In a business environment my preference would be LinkedIn text for somebody you don't know who is. You've never spoken with. That's a little intrusive. I don't suggest that even if somebody has a cell phone number in there their email signature.

[00:23:39] I think it's a little too intrusive early on. Once you are having a back and forth email dialogue with them you can ask Do you mind if I confirm our our call or our meeting via text and if that person gives you permission. Now you have permission to reach out to them that way.

[00:23:56] Yeah I think that's more of a concern. I've certainly been on the other side of things getting lots of reach outs lots of text books. Actually my best one is a people that send me calendar invites. So you know they send me a calendar invite and we'll just kind of pop up on my calendar and be like What is this. And then I realize it's someone trying to market me or trying to get to you know trying to get into my schedule but they've just going to use the calendar and buy option to kind of get in sort of forced their way on their right.

[00:24:25] So I will get a little add a comment about that. And certainly it sounds like this person did that too early in a relationship with you so that it was intrusive and it didn't feel natural.

[00:24:37] Once you've been talking to somebody back and forth the attacks not text the email or the phone mail or live dialogue and that person has agreed to a meeting or that person has responded with interest in some way and you're suggesting some dates and times via email but you're not getting a reply. After a couple of times if not getting a reply I would suggest and we have done this with success is to send an email and and then the same thing in a voicemail afterwords and use the language. One of our door openers uses which is knowing how busy you are I I'll send you your calendar invite for x date x time and if it works for you please accept if not just let me know a time that does. And then if you send an email like that and you deliver a voicemail like that and then you send the calendar invite that is acceptable but to do it too early in the relationship when you're not having a back and forth that's intrusive.

[00:25:36] Yeah I agree. I think there's there's a balance there. I think the scenarios range running into into for their first outreach to me was a calendar right and I would say that that that's a faux pas.

[00:25:47] That's a person who doesn't understand that there is a human an individual behind the word lead.

[00:25:55] The word prospect that we're a decision maker and they're just going for tip marks and numbers and throwing a bunch of things against the wall and see what sticks. And one thing for the leaders to know is to be very very careful that you're not creating that situation where you've given your salespeople a goal of a certain number of reach outs a day and in order to to meet that they have to cut corners on the appropriate relationship building strategies just to get the temp marks in. So be careful that you're not the one who actually created that in the first place so you're giving your sellers the opportunity to be creative about opening these new relationships. I'd like to say there are three pieces of press that follow up persistence with patients without pissing them off.

[00:26:45] And like I said let's talk a little bit about who should actually do the door opening because you mentioned in the beginning here when one of the things that you do or one of the things that is important is to figure out that not everyone should be a door opener. How do you know. How do you evaluate what are the best door openers and how do we select the right people to do the string right.

[00:27:05] So that's a really important question because people who have the wrong people in the role of doing door opening on their team and they all know who they are because after about six months they want to jump out the window.

[00:27:19] I've seen leaders handle this this situation with a variety of different strategies and some people who have the wrong people in this world will throw money at it and incentives which creates like a short spike in performance and then it just goes back to where it was and others will put their sellers on the pitch.

[00:27:38] Performance Improvement Plan which creates a short blip and then performance goes back to where it was and other leaders just yell at people and you know they're really what you probably have is the wrong fit from the beginning.

[00:27:53] So you know everybody knows the difference between the hunters and the farmers. The farmers grow the business 100 find the business but what most don't know is that within the world of hunters there are different kinds of hunters. And that's usually a lightbulb moment for people and then they start thinking about those on their team and they're like crap. That's right.

[00:28:13] I think that you know there are those who those hunters who are really good at the meetings and nurturing the relationship after the meeting and closing the sale. We call those the closers in our world. And then there are others which is a very small fraction of hunters who are just intuitive. Great got it in their DNA to open doors with those they don't know. And not only that not only are they talented and gifted at this but they actually want to spend their time that way. And that is a very very rare individual in my experience. It's it's so rare to find one seller who is equally great at opening and closing. Usually they're good at one or the other and not all.

[00:28:56] So here we're with our company for the 20 years that we've been in business. We only hire those who are intuitively Great got it in their DNA. Plus they have the experience in door opening and they would rather do that than anything else. And so as the leaders are sitting there listening to this and think about the people on your team and do you have anybody like that who just really doesn't need to leverage their relationships they can really get the doors open anywhere and they would rather spend their time doing that than anything.

[00:29:28] So if you have somebody like that on the team one thing you can do is make that person so role opening and that person can open for all the other people on the team. If you do that first of all you have to create a handoff situation so that it's smooth internally for your team and for the prospects. You also have to change your comp structure so that nobody is penalized as a result of either opening or closing but yet they're working in concert and both of them are all team members will think it's a gift if you don't have somebody like that or you just need more meetings than the people on your team have the ability to get then outsourcing is an option.

[00:30:09] There are a lot of companies out there who say they get some meetings but often they are using either you know moms who like to talk on the phone actors voice but they're not using senior level business developers who have it in their DNA who want to spend their time is way to do the work. That's what we do. That's that's our business model.

[00:30:30] Awesome. If people want to find out more about you about the blog about services that you offer you get more tips advice on how to open the red doors. What's the best way to get that information right.

[00:30:42] And so I am going to have an offer for your people as well. Especially because I'm part of the gazelles community and the scaling up community as well as a bottom on gazelles growth Institute.

[00:30:54] I'm looking to help your clients do the best possible job and the most efficient job at door opening as possible. So my offer to them is a 30 minute free consultation about how you're going about door opening now and I'll give you my perspective about what you could do whether it's next year or later in the year in order to get to the next level in door opening and they're assessing the team or assessing your process to help you find what your blind spots are that are keeping you from the success you want people can reach me through my website which is co-op consulting USA dot com. It's Cayo PDP consulting s a dot com. And there you can find my blog. You can register for that I write usually monthly about narrow subject areas that are particularly challenging having to do with sales and I also speak I do four groups of business leaders. The five planks of door opening success is dead done right seminar and you know my books are also available through through the website or on Amazon.

[00:32:00] Perfect and I'll make sure that those links are in the show notes so that people can click through to get those. Caryn This has been a pleasure. Thank you so much for taking the time. It's been highly educational and it's always fun to speak with you so I appreciate it.

[00:32:12] Thank you for having me. I really appreciate that as well.

[00:30:13] You've been listening to Scaling up Services with Business Coach Bruce Eckfeldt. To find a full is a podcast episodes. Download the tools and worksheets and access other great content. This is a Web site that scaling up services dot com and toll free to sign up for the free newsletter scalingupservices/newsletter.