10 Ways to Reach the Decision Maker

In today’s increasingly remote and phone-based sales environment, reaching the decision maker can be quite difficult. In fact, 76% of junior executives and 47% of higher level executives rejected their last three sales calls, according to a study by SCi Sales Group. And, in the age of robo-calling annoyances, the challenge for legitimate sales operations is even greater.

While the figures above may seem discouraging, there are things you can do to beat the odds:

1. Referral email – This type of email is an effective alternative to cold calling. First, know which contact or department you are ultimately trying to reach. Then, send an email to someone within the organization who can help you reach the decision maker or relevant department. Often times, this may be an executive assistant, receptionist or even a manager. Skip the elevator pitch in your email and ask to be referred to the contact you are trying to reach. Keep it simple – “Who handles your billing and can you tell me how to get in touch with them?”

2. Referral by phone – When cold calling, ask for the office of the president or an assistant to a senior executive. Be friendly and respectful, and you will most likely get to someone who can point you in the right direction. It may take a few tries, but you can make progress.

3. “Lost lamb” approach – Another alternative to find the right person is to use the “lost lamb” approach. When calling the main office or an administrative assistant, say something like “I’m a little lost, and hoping you can help me find the right person to talk to.” This is a friendlier approach, that can yield positive results.

4. Call later in the day – You often have a better chance of getting in touch with people who have decision making authority later in the day. These individuals are usually in meetings most of the day and use the early evening hours to catch up on work.

5. Ask for industry advice – Sometimes you can progress your call trail by asking the person on the other side for advice as an industry expert. They may then feel obligated to help you, and in the end, you can leverage the information gleaned to discuss the product you are offering.

6. LinkedIn 2nd-level invite campaign – Join LinkedIn groups to build up your second-level connections. Join as many groups that match your offering, and then leverage the custom invitation functionality to send personal messages to like-minded individuals who could be potential customers. These messages could include an invite to a local event, a webinar, etc.

7. 3×3 research approach – The 3x3 concept helps you manage time spent on researching prospects. The rule of 3x3 states that you should have some context before attempting to reach out to a prospect, so spend three minutes to find three valuable pieces of information about your prospect that you’ll actually use in the conversation.

8. Ask for permission – Rather than jumping right into your pitch, simply ask for permission to do so. Say something like, “I know I am an interruption, but may I have 47 seconds of your time to tell you why I called?” Why 47 seconds? It’s not too long and not too short and often serves as an ice breaker with prospects on the other end of the line.

9. Prioritize – This is a particularly valuable asset for the inside sales team at Ellie Mae. Our teams are methodical about how they prioritize their day. Part of this is done using the activity prioritization functionality in the Velocify Pulse and Velocify LeadManager products, and by focusing on specific types of activities throughout the day. For example, reps who work to generate outbound leads spend an hour of their time calling down a list, another hour on customized referral email campaign efforts, etc. This approach keeps them focused and efficient around the activity they are engaged in.

10. Be intriguing – Don’t give your prospect too much information on a voicemail. Keep it brief, saying something like: “I have something you might be interested in, give me a call back” or “I saw something and thought of you. Take a look at the email I sent.” It piques their curiosity and increases the likelihood of engagement.

Hope these tips help your sales team more effectively reach decision makers. For a few more tips, check out a blog by Lori Richardson of Score More Sales on the 30 tips for reaching prospects.

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