When running Cold Calling Made Simple courses I am always asked how to get past the gate keeper. (and on Reception Skills courses I am always asked what I train telesales people in so that they can block them!!)
I firmly believe that all receptionists need RESPECT. They have a job to do and they need to do it well to avoid getting bad feedback at their appraisals – they are there to stop senior managers being ‘bothered’ by sales calls. (I also find this quite sad because as the owner of my company I ALWAYS take sales calls – both to find out what’s new in the market place, but also to see if there are any techniques that I can pick up and use!
Receptionists are your route to the decision-maker and how you treat them is how you will be treated back. Remember – what you give out you get back.
I always start with the following: ‘I wonder if you can help me?’ (if they give me their name, I use it straight back eg ‘Hi Sue, I wonder if you can help me?)
I then say who I am and where I’m calling from (using my full name to elevate my status!) state what I require – a name, an email address, putting through to someone – and I’m polite. There is no point in being aggressive or arrogant, the receptionist will help you if she can.
If there is a ‘no names policy’ say thanks and take a generic email address and send an email. I am always amazed the telesales people think this is a waste of time – I recently trained a company who had been discussing their services with a prospect and the prospect said ‘Send something through by email’ and gave an info@ address. The client did just that and because info@ went round to everyone in the company it was picked up by one of the directors and a sizeable sale made.
Respect the receptionist – be guided by them – they are your opening to better things!!