Handling the No Name Policy When Cold Calling: Part III – When You Have No Info

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Making a phone callIf you have missed Parts I and II of this series, it is a good idea to check them out now—it’s good stuff!  Continuing though, when calling that company when you have no name and the gatekeeper (GK) refuses to give you a name or connect you without one.  Here are a few ways to handle the situation.

Two Important Points
First, keep in mind these two critical points:

  1. The average sales person is usually trying to accomplish too many sales goals during one contact.  That is, you are trying to discover whom the decision maker (DM) is, get a name or title, get pass the GK, reach the DM and set an appointment.  While it is possible to do all of this in a single call, the success rate is small.
  2. Often the reason the GK remains so adamant on not giving you any information is because you are a sales person attempting to speak to a DM.  Another, less threatening caller may get that name from the GK.

With those thoughts in mind, first think about dividing your time into two speared activities: one to call and get names and the other to set appointments.

The Prospecting Call for Info Only
Make calls simply to obtain information.  If the situation warrants, then you can use the information immediately and continue on, or call later.  The key with this approach is to be non-threatening and to stimulate an impulsive reaction from the GK.  The concept and demeanor to adapt is as if you are an administrative or support type person who is simply sending out mail in the post and you are calling to confirm basic information.

However, as you ask questions, you get the GK to begin answering “Yes,” several times, and then you ask the big question.  Speak quickly, allowing the GK little time to think.  It may sound something like this…

GK:             “ABC Development Company, may I help you?”

Sales Person:   “Ah, yes…I just wanted to double check…you are at 1465 East Hampton Place, right?”

GK:             “Yes.”

Sales Person:   “And that’s in Coventry?”

GK:             “Uhm, um.”

Sales Person:   “CV3 2TQ?”

GK:             “That’s right.”

Sales Person:   “And the IT Director…what’s that name?”

GK:             “Ethan James.”

Sales Person:   “Great…thank you!”  Click.

Depending on the sound of the GK, you may continue and ask to speak to the contact.  Be careful with this, though.  Should the GK begin to feel that you are a sales person who tricked him or her, you have a big problem.  In addition, if you are sending a literature package, this becomes even easier to do.

Now, if the GK stops you in the middle of this process remain calm, confident and stay very nonchalant…

GK:             “Who is this?”

Sales Person:   “Oh, I’m sorry.  This is Susan over here at Acme Software…just putting a package in the post…and is there a suite or department number for I.T.?”

GK:             “No, just the regular address.”

Sales Person:   “Great, thanks.  Oh and the help desk manager, what’s the name, please?”

You can and should alter the words here to match your tone and personality.  However, the key is to stay confident, calm and casual.

Eliminate the Negative Expectations
If I were to take ten people who had no sales training at all; no sales, telemarketing, or customer service experience, gave them a list of companies and asked them to call the companies, confirm the mailing information and get the name of the IT Director; those people would have far more success than trained sales people would.

The reason is that as a sales person, you except resistance.  You need to change your thinking and except the GK to give you the name.  It is just an innocent confirmation of their basic information—that’s all.

Of course, these techniques will not work all of the time, but as you practice and perfect them, you will find them to be successful more times than not.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 26 August, 2011

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