For those of us who cold call, getting past the gatekeeper and reaching the decision maker is the first task. Gatekeepers are like security guards: it is their job is to protect the decision maker from your reach. How well you do in this regard is the key to your results.
Four Simple Cold Calling Tips to Reach the Decision Maker:
1. Keep it simple and informal.
If you ask for “Mr. Jones the President” their guard immediately goes up and your chances of getting through are diminished. Speak informally; ask for him by first name as his acquaintances would.
2. Take good notes on your calls.
If you know from a prior call that “Jeffrey” goes by “Jeff”, this is how you should ask for him, just like his friends would if they were calling. Keep track of who answers the phone on your previous attempts as well. If last quarter when you called “John” answered, and a man answers on your current attempt, you can say “hi, is this John?” If it is, he will know you spoke to him before, even if he does not remember the exact reason why. His guard will go down, making it more accessible to reach the decision maker. If it is not “John”, the person answering will probably know who John is and has therefore been disarmed to a degree since you know both Jeff and John by name.
3. If you have spoken to the decision maker before, say so.
Time frame does not matter, even if it was a year ago and just briefly. When calling for “Jeff” and you are asked if he will know what it is regarding, you can say “I have spoken to him before” The guard goes down, you are familiar now, and you are more likely to get through.
4. Keep it brief and thank the decision maker for his/her time.
Decision makers are busy and will not be responsive to long promotions. Asked a few key questions, probe for interest and let them go about their work. If they request information and a call back, send it promptly and call back exactly when requested.
Cold calling is not easy for most of us, but if done in a thoughtful manner can yield worthy results. Remember, disarming the security guard (gatekeeper) is the key to reaching your goal: The decision maker. Keep it simple, informal and to the point.
Good Luck and Happy Prospecting!
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Christos Dousmanis is a Sales Account Manager at Automated Business Designs, Inc., software developer of Ultra-Staff staffing software for the staffing and direct hire industry. Ultra-Staff is a staffing software business solution with components for front office, back office and the web. Christos’s email address is email@example.com or for more information on Ultra-Staff go to www.abd.net