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.

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or
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