How to Call the Decision Maker

by RJ on July 19, 2012

How to Call the Decision Maker

 

 

If you’re like most salespeople, making cold calls trying to get to a decision maker is one of the hardest tasks that you have. Most salespeople will agree if they got in front of a decision maker they could make the best presentation of their products or services and close a sale.

 

Today more then ever making cold calls has become one of the hardest tasks a salesperson can have. Many executives don’t have private secretaries or assistants that pick up the phone anymore. It used to be if they did have an assistant you could at least give a minute presentation and get some feedback or schedule an appointment. Sometimes you could at least get the name of someone that you could be transferred to that would listen to your pitch and help you get to the right person. Today with voice mail, email, texting and web access, it’s almost impossible to get to anyone. You’re left with a feeling of did my message get through to the right person, did they listen, are they interested, or did they just delete the message because they were too busy.

 

The two biggest problems for salespeople have always been, how do I gain access to the real decision maker and who is the real decision maker. There are solutions to these real problems but it takes work. Are you willing to put in the hard work or are you going to just sit there and complain while someone else gets to make the sale. Today you have a wealth of information at your fingertips using the internet. You can search the company’s web page to find their contact page, executives, titles, what the company produces, their stock information, marketing brochures, customers, and a wealth of other information. You should never make any calls until you do your research. Annual reports are also available on many web pages which will tell you if the CEO is forecasting a good or bad year and what he thinks the company is going to do to improve revenue.

 

I’m not a big fan of CRM programs like Salesforce.com, since they are a lot of work for the salesperson, but they do force you to fill in the blanks of a prospect’s company. These programs force you to do some research and find out the organization chart, titles, responsibilities, locations, stock price, products, services, goals and directions. If these programs are being monitored by upper management, you had better fill in the blanks and be able to discuss the prospects hot buttons, how many times have you made contact, who are the decision makers, who are the influencers, do they have a committee reviewing products like yours and a host of other useful information. I’m, of course, assuming that this company is in your market segment and can afford and benefit from your product or service.

 

I once worked for a company where the CEO unexpectedly called each salesperson to the front of the room and questioned him on each of his accounts and prospects. I should say interrogated each salesperson. Most salespeople could not answer all the important questions as stock price, stock exchange, private or public company, name of the CEO, name of the CFO, major markets sold into and a host of other rather important questions. Needless to say, those of us not yet called were scrabbling to think of answers and hope we would not get called. We could not use our computers to look up information so we were at the mercy of our files and memory. Actually one of our salesmen was in tears at the end of the questioning and later quit before he was fired.

 

There are many reasons why salespeople don’t like to make cold calls such as fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment and fear of not knowing what to say. Take the fear out of your calls and be prepared to say the right words at the right time.

 

Be prepared and have a goal and a secondary goal for each call. It may be to find out the correct person to call, telephone numbers, e-mail address, location of each executive, decision maker and influencer. You won’t forget why you called.

 

Make a list of questions that you want answered. Make sure you don’t ask questions that are readily available from their web page. Ask questions that require a yes to some of the benefits that you offer. Keeping in mind who you are questioning and what they may be looking for. The CEO, CFO, COO and other management roles are all looking for different results. When you have a list of questions you won’t forget to get the information that you set out to get.

 

Set aside a specific time of day to make your calls and don’t take any incoming calls,

E-mails or any interruptions. This is your dedicated time to complete the necessary calls to fill your prospect list. If you do this every day you will be at the top of the sales charts.

 

Use a wireless head set on your phone to free yourself from your desk. The more animated you are the more excited and interesting you will sound. Don’t be boring. Have your literature, brochures, questions and answers to objections at your fingertips. Better yet spread them over your desk and be ready. If you slouch in a chair your telephone voice will sound just like you look, laid back, uninterested and boring.

 

Many experts in phone calling recommend that you have a mirror on your desk or mounted on the wall that you can look into while making the call. The more you smile and act animated the more interesting you sound. You will see and hear a difference in your voice and the way that you present your product and answer questions. Let me know if this works.

 

In summary 94% of a customer’s first contact with a company is via the telephone or the internet. Learn to use them properly. Stand up, move around and become animated while you speak, you will sound enthusiastic and alive. Don’t forget to use the wireless headset and a mirror. Good luck out there.

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