Reaching the Unreachable Decision Maker
Decision makers are bombarded by calls every day. Even though talking to you may only take three or four minutes, the thought of having to talk to a sales person when a decision maker is busy is not high on their agenda.
Many times when you cold call after identifying yourself, your company and a brief reason for your call; you will be told by the gatekeeper the decision maker is busy and you will need to call back. Sometimes you will be given a specific time to call back.
How many times have we called back to talk to the decision maker after being given a specific call back time and they are not available?
I have used the following techniques and will work in many cases:
- Contact the Receptionist: Let the receptionist know you called earlier and was told your decision maker would be available at (Ex: 10:00 a.m.) and you are calling back as promised. Mention you know the decision maker may be busy and that you promise not to take much of his time.If you have called several times, ask the receptionist to page the decision maker – letting the gatekeeper know it will just take a minute or two and you realize he may be busy, but you really would like to connect with the decision maker today if at all possible. By mentioning today you create a sense of urgency.
- Cell Phone: If you are unable to reach your decision maker by the office phone, ask if you could call him on his cell phone since you need to connect today.
- Direct Line: If the gatekeeper will give you the direct phone line or extension, it will help in future calls. Remember to call direct lines at times when the decision maker will most likely be sitting at their desk (first thing in the mornings and at the end of day). These time frames will vary with professions. If the receptionist answers and I know the extension, I will ask if I can be transferred to the extension number. This approach avoids having to identify myself again and increases my chances to be transferred straight through.
- Email: Many times, email is the best avenue of communication. If at all possible try to get the email regardless of what technique you use in reaching your decision maker.
- Receptionist won’t cooperate: The first time I reach a receptionist that won’t cooperate, I wait a while and call back and try again. In some cases you may actually be talking to the decision maker and you just think it is the receptionist.
You can’t make a sale if you don’t reach the decision maker.