If your business requires you to promote your services & products to businesses through cold calls and you encounter problems with the receptionist during the encounter, this article is for you.
Before you go on reading, there is a public seminar we are conducting on 21st April at 3pm on the topic “Calling for business in the modern day business”. More details after the article.
The “Receptionist” – This is the first person that you will speak with before anyone else in that company. He/she will eventually become one of the 2, a facilitator or a gatekeeper to your call.
The receptionist are perceived to be either gatekeepers or an unimportant part of the conversation to many sales people in the industry
Based on work done by Canvass, our statistics shows that 75% of all calls are screened by the receptionist when you don’t have specific names or personnel to refer to in their company.
There are 2 small techniques that will help in making the receptionist a facilitator rather than a gatekeeper.
The first technique is employed during the first conversation and you are trying to find out who is the person in charge. Instead of asking them for the person in charge (if you don’t have a name), ask them IF there is person in charge,
For example; instead of asking “Can I know who is your marketing manager in the company, can I speak with him/her?” try asking “Is there a person that decides on the marketing strategy of the company, is he/she around?”
The first question is seen as intrusive and the perceived risk for them to answer your question is high. If they say ‘Yes’ to the first question they actually have to give out company personnel information to a complete stranger and if they put every call through they may get penalised if the calls are uninteresting.
The recommended question, however, is seen as an innocent request for help to which we do get help more often from.
82% of the time the receptionist asks us for the agenda of the call and that is where most sales people make the mistake of starting their pitch to the receptionist already.
They do need to know what is going on but they are not interested in the finer details of your pitch. A typical conversation that happens over at the Canvass office goes like this
“I need to speak with your marketing manager because we are helping other companies increase their sales appointments by 125% in a month without incurring high cost and your marketing manager will want to know how this is done.”
From our statistics half the time we get the request “Can you send this information to our generic email address”
And that is where another simple technique comes in handy for our team at Canvass.
The technique is to thank them and respect their company policy but ask them to help you with the email that you intend to send over. Start asking questions that will help differentiate your email from the other 50 emails that will be sent to the generic email box on a daily basis.
Things like how big is the team, how do they allocate work among the team, do they attend team meetings on a monthly basis etc. Anything that will help you differentiate your email from the vendors are sending.
Based on our work, the put through rate and probability of contacting the personnel increases by 37% when we employed the two techniques above, have a try at it and see how you will be able to start reaching to people you are targeting in companies.
This is 1 of 2 modules that we will be covering in a public session starting on 21st April at 3pm. It will be a half day session that ends at 6pm. The key topics covered will be
Overcoming the receptionist reluctance during the first call
Identifying good prospects in 30 seconds (or are they bringing you for a ride)
How the top 10% sales person pitch during a phone call
Ending the conversation but not really ending it