How to get to the decision maker to get better results quicker!
When telemarketing to a company, there is a school of thought, that you need to make the receptionist your best friend. Some greener consultants may feel that it's “easier” and less intimidating to call a HR coordinator or a HR assistant rather than the HR Director as they are on the same level as themselves and therefore it is easier to build rapport.
But let me tell you a story that will illustrate why the exact opposite is true and how to avoid wasting time, money and effort by being stalled by a non-decision maker at a lower level.
As a rookie consultant I desperately wanted to deal with one of the BIG Four pharmaceutical companies, let's call them XYZ as they had more than 20 white collar temps on site.
The only obstacle was that they had been dealing with the same recruitment company for over ten years and seemed to be extremely happy. I called the HR co-ordinator, let's call her Anne and spoke to her every week for about six months. Anne was pleasant and eventually told me that she had been placed there by said recruitment company.
After about six months, I was out of ideas on how I could get a client visit, let alone a job order, so one Friday evening at 6:30pm, I called XYZ and got the gatekeeper; not the receptionist or HR coordinator, they had long gone home. It was literally the gatekeeper, who monitored people entering and leaving the site. I asked to speak to the MD, let's call him John.
30 seconds later John answered the phone and I was almost speechless. All those months of calling to speak to the HR Manager without any results and here was the head honcho himself!
I told him the purpose of my call and explained that if their company had dealt with the same recruitment company for ten years; how could he be certain, that they were still getting the best service and people at the best price in today's market? John listened patiently and said, he saw my point, but as he had staff to look after those areas, could I please call, lets' call him Antony, one of his HR Managers to discuss.
From this chain of events I learnt valuable lessons that stayed with me my entire career:
- When telemarketing; always start at the top of the food chain. Once I had spoken to John, my next call to Antony was already “warm” as I could say that John had asked me to call him. In this instance when I phoned Antony on the Monday, he was already expecting my call and just a little curious about this consultant who had called the big boss. Antony was also obliged to speak with me as his boss's boss had referred me!
- Avoid being treated rudely by speaking to people higher up because they are more polite and professional. Think about it; if you have ever had people be rude to you or even hang up on you, they would most likely have been people in non powerful positions. Powerful people do not get to where they are by being rude and they know that their professionalism is on display at all times.
- Save time by speaking to the decision makers; do not get stonewalled by people who cannot really or do not want to change the status quo e.g. Anne in my story.
- Decision makers can make their staff give you the job orders so you can get a foot in. Or at least one job order, so you can prove yourself.
By the way; I got a client visit with Antony and promised that if they gave me one temp job order and the service & temp was not better than their current supplier, I would never call their company again.
As they say, the rest is history. Anne reluctantly gave me a job order, but it was for a difficult manager. When that manager LOVED the temp, the other HR managers called and said if you can keep him happy, we definitely have more work for you. That is how a ten year stranglehold on a major user of temp services can be converted.
Be clear within yourself that your purpose is to get a job order or build a relationship so you can get the job orders; don't fool yourself that you're there to be liked or “chummy” with a non-decision maker in the hope that one day, they will throw some scraps your way.
Review your call list today and start again if you need to; if you have not been getting results, ask yourself: have you been speaking to the decision makers?