Today, I went with one of the senior sales and hit up his "territory".
I Learned how to approach gatekeepers & get to the right person-in-charge (PIC).
When we arrived at one of the businesses, we noticed marquees on the side of the building. It had a catchy phrase: "I will do what I can when I can". Immediately after entering the building he said to the receptionist, "I really enjoyed looking at your sign outside. It gave me a laugh" After noting that fact, the gatekeeper lightened up. You could see the receptionist become more comfortable. This is important because he or she will be more likely to help you find the right PIC. We ended up getting to talk to the PIC because the receptionist went to go look for the PIC. If we hadn't lightened the mood, the receptionist might have simply sent us away. We didn't have an appointment, so she did us a favor.
If you have a commonality with them, talk about it.
After entering the PIC's room, we noticed that on the walls hung Laker calendars and pictures. Instantly, my senior sales brought up information about the Lakers, how they were doing last year, and the different trades that could have happened during the year. By appealing to the PIC interests it opened the door for comfort and further discussion.
Although my senior sales did not secure any accounts today, he did build worthwhile relationships and set the foundation for potential business in the near future.
It was a worthwhile experience. To this day, I'd say the most important things I learned are networking, relationship building, and selling yourself.