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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Vault Past the Gatekeeper - Better Cold Calling Results (Part IV)

Last week, FEI sales leader Zoot gave young salesman Ganymede three tips for “getting past the gatekeeper” when cold calling. This week, the sales master shares a few more tips. Remember, fire = print.

With all the excellent cold calling tips he’d gotten from Zoot lately, Ganymede felt he owed the man a favor. He decided to help Zoot improve his O-hoops skills. One Saturday afternoon, they met for a game in Olympus Park. Zoot hadn’t played since his college days at Olympus U, and it showed.

“Boy, you’re missing more than me when I try to get a hold of Hercules from Hercules’ Bagels,” Ganymede said.

Zoot retrieved the ball, which had rolled across the court. “I thought you figured out how to get past the gatekeeper.”

“I thought so too,” Ganymede said. “Until I met Hercules’ receptionist Atropos. She’s a brick wall, impenetrable to even the savviest cold caller. What should I do?”

“My grandpappy always said, ‘Do the best you can with what you have,’” Zoot replied. “If Atropos won’t let you through to Hercules, see what information you can extract from her. Perhaps she can provide you with key insights about the company’s fire buying needs.”

“Give me an example,” Ganymede requested.

“Say you ask Atropos, ‘When is the last time your company used a fire vendor?’ She might answer, ‘It’s been a long time, because our last one—Flintstone—left us with a bunch of crummy torches that burnt out after three weeks.’ That little anecdote lets you know Hercules will place great value in having a fire vendor that’s reliable and trustworthy,” Zoot suggested

“Just ask a few questions like that one,” he added, “and, once you do get Hercules on the phone, your initial pitch and talking points will be more tailored to what he cares about.

“You can also confirm with Atropos that you’re pursuing the right person. At most companies, there’s more than one person who makes the fire outsourcing decisions. Ask yourself, ‘Who else at Hercules might be involved in the fire-buying process?’”

Ganymede pondered that fora moment. “The head chef, Rocco, won’t sign off unless I can show him how FEI’s fire solutions are safer and more efficient than what he’s already using to light his kiln. Xerxes, the floor manager, needs to know our torches will last for years, and that we offer speedy, around-the-clock replacement in case of burnouts—can’t have customers eating bagels in the dark.”

“Can’t get through to Hercules?” Zoot asked rhetorically. “Sounds like an opportunity to me. Next time, ask for Rocco or Xerxes. They’re more likely to be available, and Atropos is less likely to feel compelled to protect them from cold calls.

“Show them how our fire-lighting solutions can help improve the company’s lighting, heating and cooking efficiency. Once you secure their valuable buy-in, a sale—or, at least, a meeting with Hercules—will be that much closer.”

Inspired, Ganymede called Hercules’ Bagels on Monday. When Atropos put up the brick wall once again, he asked if Hercules was the right person to talk with. To his surprise, Atropos told him that Hercules usually delegated these decisions to Heracles, the assistant manager. She gladly put him through to Heracles. After a short conversation, they scheduled a meeting. A week later, Hercules’ Bagels was FEI’s newest client.

“Congrats on nabbing Hercules,” Zoot said, as the pair played O-hoops that evening. “But don’t get used to closing sales so quickly. The first sales call is often just the first step of the sales process.”

“The next step?” Ganymede asked.

“Sending follow-up materials,” Zoot replied.

“Tell me more,” Ganymede said, intrigued.

“Glad you asked.” Zoot put his hands on his hips. He was grateful for a rest from O-hoops; his back was killing him.

FIRE! Point
Don’t think of the person who answers the phone a roadblock; think of her/him as an opportunity to learn more about the company. If a certain key decision maker is being blocked by the gatekeeper or otherwise inaccessible, try getting through to other people who might be involved in making buying decisions. Your second choice may turn out to be the shortest path to a sale.

FIRE! in Action: Telemarketing Gets Quick Results for Midvision

The specialists in the automated deployment of software applications used cold calling to create a tangible, quantifiable sales pipeline and doubled its bookings over the period of just a few months.

Next week: Zoot gives Ganymede tips on creating personalized materials to follow up on sales calls.

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