A client and I recently discussed some methods for getting to the decision maker. During the discussion I suggested an observation that I had made several years ago. It´s so obvious but most sales people never think about it. Here´s the thing. Generating a cold lead not only takes time (think weeks) but it´s also more difficult to get into larger firms than smaller ones. Sounds obvious doesn´t it? But most sales people don´t take this simple premise into account. Think about it. Calling a large firm requires that you get past an automatic system, a receptionist and a voice mail and even then the person listed on your call sheet or database may not be the decision maker. Assuming you get to the receptionist, don´t count on them giving the decision maker´s name. Once you get to the voice mail, count on leaving at least 2 messages before you get one return call (that is unless there is a definite need for your services). If you´re lucky and actually speak with the decision maker, expect to send literature before meeting with them (most prospects are visual and need to see information before a meeting).Which means another week or two. Of course after you send the info you then need to follow up and start this process all over again (this time with the right contact´s name).Once you´ve sent the literature you´ll need to ask three key questions:
1. Did you receive the literature?
2. Have you read it?
3. What did you think about it?
Calling a smaller firm can be a bit easier but no less taxing. Smaller firms usually have a receptionist (instead of an automated system) to man the phones and tend to be more forthcoming with contact information. This can be beneficial when determining little things like if the prospect is on vacation or out to lunch(timing is everything when comes to reaching the prospect). Receptionists at small firms are also less tight lipped about giving out the contacts name than their larger counterparts. The process is still the same (leave message, send lit, and follow up). But it is decidedly easier to get in to see this prospect than their larger counterpart. Whether calling large or small firms, remember, it´s a process. Don´t expect success over night.