…and he’s wishing he hadn’t.
The phone rang. I answered.
Me: Hello, Marian Dougan speaking.
Caller (male): Hello, can I speak to the Managing Director?
Me: Who’s calling, please?
Caller: I’d like to speak to the Managing Director.
Me: Yes, but who’s calling?
Caller: It’s a business call, I’d like to speak to the Managing Director. Is he in?
Me: …………[= frosty silence]. I am the Managing Director. Can I help you?
Caller: …………[= oh, s**t, I’ve blown it]. I’m phoning to see if you’d be interested in corporate hospitality. At the Stuffy Old Buffers Golf Club.
Me: Thank you so much but I don’t think we’d be interested. Good-bye.
Caller: Mumble, mumble. Click.
If I’d had more time, instead of being busy running a business, I’d have given this inept caller some tips on how to do a sales/marketing call. I realise that the following will be preaching to the converted, but just in case…
Doing your homework
- Do your homework.
- What size of business are you dealing with?
- Who are the key people?
- What are their names? Use them.
- Don’t assume that you need to speak to the managing director (MD). If it’s a small business, that may be the case. But for bigger companies you might be better speaking to the marketing manager, international/external relations office, or the MD’s personal assistant (PA). (PAs and other “gatekeepers” often have a lot of influence in big organisations. They’re worth cultivating).
- Is the business likely to need the service or product you’re offering? If not, don’t waste your and their time. Or else tweak your product to suit them.
Making the call
- Introduce yourself. Immediately. Don’t wait to be asked. And if you do have to be asked, answer immediately. You’re the one that’s intruding on someone else’s time.
- Ask if it’s a good time to speak. You’re interrupting someone and you’ve no idea how busy they are or how urgent their immediate task is.
- Explain what you’re selling, framing your pitch as appealingly as you can. Suggest an appointment to discuss further.
- Do – NOT – for – one – second – assume – that – the – Managing – Director – is – a – man.
Illustration courtesy of Lobstar 28.
By Marian Dougan