Let me set the scene; you’re a salesperson on a mission, and you’re moments away from landing a huge sale. You just need to get the contact on the phone. Here’s a dialogue that happens hundreds of times a day between B2B salespeople and gatekeepers:
Salesperson: Hello, I need to speak with the person who makes decisions regarding (fill-in-the-blank).
Gatekeeper: Do you have a contact name? …
If your answer to that question is “no,” you have a very slim chance of getting transferred to the right person, having them pick up, and having a great conversation with them. Most likely, you’ll get dumped into a voice mail box. Maybe you’ll get a generic IT vendor line. Maybe you’ll get someone’s voice mail, but the greeting doesn’t say anyone’s name. Or maybe the gatekeeper will tell you “I can’t transfer you without a contact name.” I’ve had this happen more times than I can count.
Make sure you have a contact name when the gatekeeper asks you for one. How do you do this? Well, you usually have about 7 seconds while the phone is ringing before the gatekeeper answers. That’s enough time to find a name. You just need to know how big the company is and what type of contact you’re looking for.
Linkedin is great tool to use in order to qualify companies and contacts. B2B salespeople who know how to use it well are generally much more successful.
If you’re looking for the IT Director at a company with over 200 employees, simply do a quick Google search for: (Company’s name) “information technology” LinkedIn. 9 times out of 10, the top listing will be the contact’s LinkedIn profile. If not, you will at least have a result for someone in IT that you can ask for by name.
In the education field, it’s even easier to find contacts. Nearly every school district has an employee directory on their website. They lists names, titles, direct lines or extensions, emails, and more. If you’re calling an IT department, simply Google: (School district, Company’s name) and the first search result will likely be a page on the district website listing all the district’s IT staff.
If your contact belongs to a smaller company, they might not have LinkedIn profile. Or maybe you’re trying to reach a small business owner. In that case, Manta is a great resource. Google: (Company name Manta), or (Company name, City State Manta). Either way, you will get to their Manta page, which will most likely list the business owner.
With enough practice, all these searches can be done in fewer than 10 seconds, and you will always have a name by the time the gatekeeper asks for one.
By Jeremy of Chameleon Group