The screener. The gate keeper.
Those words can strike fear in the heart of anyone who has ever made a cold call.
Strike out with this person and you’re a goner.
She (sometimes he) is usually efficient and organized.
Her/his job is to keep people away from the boss – people the boss doesn’t want to – or doesn’t have time to – talk to.
Often that means you – the sales person.
The screener is not always treated with respect by callers, especially callers who become annoyed when they are not immediately put through to the boss.
What does not treating the screener with respect do?
Annoys and irritates this employee.
Is this person important to you?
S/he can make your job easier or shut you out of the company you are trying to get into.
What’s the best way to get to the decision maker (DM)?
First: Get the Name
Your job will be more difficult if you don’t have the name of the DM.
Call first (before you intend to talk with the DM) and ask for the name because you are “updating your files.” After you have the name, wait a few days before calling back. If you are unsuccessful at getting the name of the DM this way, there are other ways to find out.
How to Find the Name of the Decision Maker
- Look through the prospect’s web site. Often you will find several different contact names you can use.
- Call the company and ask to be put through to the sales department. Sales reps are usually willing to help other sales people – and will often give you the name of the DM you are looking for.
It’s amazing what happens with the right words and a respectful tone of voice.
- “Can you help me out?”
- “Can you point me in the right direction?”
- “I’d like to be of some help to your company. Could you tell me who I would talk with to introduce the benefits of [insert your product or service.]”
- If the screener is not sure who the decision maker is (for your particular product or service) and puts you through to someone’s assistant or secretary, it’s very important not to assume that person is not a decision maker.
One Respectful Way to Ask the Question
“Are you the person who makes the decision regarding your [product/service] needs, or do you have someone who does that for you?”
When you convey an attitude of respect to the screener or the assistant to the boss, you may make a friend who can help you get to the DM.
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Here’s wishing you a happy and productive day!
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