How to Get Decision-Makers to Take Your Calls

Written By: Mike Brooks

Prospecting by telephone is still an effective method of generating new business and many organizations are requiring their sales people to make more calls in an effort to maintain their sales level. However, getting a decision maker to take your call is becoming increasingly more difficult. Here’s why.

  • You sound like every other sales person who calls. Virtually every sales person who calls a high-level decision maker sounds identical. In fact, it almost sounds like most sales people have graduated from the same school. If you want a decision maker to take your call, you need to start the call with a different opening. A good start is to be calm, confident and sincere.
  • You use manipulative tactics to get past their executive assistant. Ask any executive assistant and they will tell you how manipulative sales people can be when trying to connect with decision makers. Sure, your ruse might work the first time but I can guarantee that any follow up calls will be caught and blocked by the assistant you once fooled.
  • You treat the executive assistant as a second class citizen. I used to work across from a Vice President’s executive assistant and the number of times a sales person treated her with respect was far less than she deserved. Talk to an executive assistant as if he/she is the decision maker and you stand a better chance of connecting with the DM.
  • You forget that the executive assistant has a brain. Talking to an EA like they’re a moron is a colossal mistake. These employees’ often know more about the internal workings of their company than anyone else. Treat them as intelligent human beings and tap into their knowledge. Befriend them and you will quickly find that they can help you in many ways.
  • You forget the executive assistant’s role. A key responsibility of an EA is to protect their boss’s time and they are diligent in doing so. Don’t hate them for it, that’s their job. The best way to get an assistant to put your call through or get you on the decision maker’s calendar is to be straight with them, respect them, and give them a valid reason.
  • You failed to do any research before your call. Too many sales people make a call and start pitching their product or service without realizing that their solution is not relevant to the decision maker’s company. Because the DM has been burned in the past by accepting too many calls of this nature they are extremely reluctant to do so now. Do yourself and your prospect a favour and conduct some research BEFORE you pick up the telephone. That way you can speak directly to their challenges and separate yourself form the competition.
  • You call during standard business hours. Take a peek at any high-level decision maker’s schedule and the first thing you will notice is that most of their days are filled with back-to-back meetings. That’s why they often arrive at the office early and stay late. You have a much better chance of connecting with them if you call before 8:30 AM or after 5:30 PM. Many executives I know are still in their office as late as eight or nine o’clock in the evening.