What’s in a Name?

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In a previous post, I mentioned how calling a gatekeeper by name can aid your quest to reach the decision taker. If you’ve spent time on the phone trying to reach Mr. Decision, you’ve probably experienced a conversation similar to this:

Gatekeeper: “Good morning, Great Big Business Company, Mr. Decision’s office.”

You: “Hello, is Mr. Decision in?”

Gatekeeper: “Whom may I say is calling?”

You: “This is Rodney Ratecard from WWTH Radio.”

Gatekeeper: “Let me see if Mr. Decision will take your call.”

After a minute or so on hold, you are informed that Mr. Decision is in a meeting and can’t accept your call.

Well, maybe he is in a meeting. But maybe not.

After going through this scenario countless times, it was time to wise up. On one of my next calls, I found out that Ms. Gatekeeper had a first name: Susan. In addition, Mr. Decision also had a first name: Bob. A few days later, the next call went like this:

Susan: “Good morning, Great Big Business Company, Mr. Decision’s office.”

You: “Hi, Susan. This is Rodney Ratecard from WWTH. Is Bob there?”

Susan: “Just a moment.”

Bob: “This is Bob Decision. Who is this?”

You might think this is a fantasy, but it works 90 percent of the time…even on a cold call. The key is to find out the first names of both the gatekeeper and the decision taker (I’ll tell you how that’s easily accomplished in a future post). Notice that I offer my name and company up front. You know Susan is going to ask for it, so make it easy on her. It demonstrates you’re not ashamed of your employer. But most of all, it has you talking like the people who are calling and getting through to Mr. Decision every day. By the tone of their voice and the words they use, they convey that going through the gatekeeper is a routine formality—not an insurmountable barrier.

If you’re having problems getting through to your decision taker, give this method a few tries. You’ll be delightfully surprised at the results.