<< My question about cold-calling is this: How do you get in touch with the right person (decision-maker) in the office you're calling? >>
Putting all questions about the value of cold-calling aside for the moment, and assuming this is an approach that makes sense for your business, the most productive cold calls are ones where you have done some advance research about the company you are calling. You will have considerably more success if you call the company already having someone's name.
First determine the most likely job titles for the person who has the highest chance of hiring you. Is it the IT Director, Training Manager, Marketing Director, Benefits Manager, etc? Then try to get the name of whoever fills that role before you pick up the phone.
Make your first stop the company's web site. Visit their contact us page, staff directory page, and press room page, looking for references to the roles and departments that interest you. A short cut to looking through the whole site can be to use Google's site search feature. Let's say you wanted to find out who was VP of Finance at the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Type into Google "vice president finance site:www.aacu-edu.org" and the first link will tell you that her name is Michelle Hannahs, and give you her direct extension and email address. [This is my sister, BTW, so please don't all market to her at once ;-} ]
Here are some other suggestions for finding names (and sometimes contact information) to go with job titles:
o Look in professional association member directories, alumni directories, and business directories (e.g. those published by Chambers of Commerce)
o Search trade publication web sites for articles by or about people who work for the companies you want to reach
o Buy a list from a list broker. If you can make use of 500 names or more, you can buy a list of people with specific job titles in particular industries or regions.
o Visit the business section of the public library, and ask a librarian to help you search print resources like company annual reports.
If you really can't find out the right name before you call, ask the receptionist. On most voice mail systems, there is an option to exit and reach a live person. If the system doesn't give you such an option, try pressing zero or zero#. Many receptionists will happily answer questions like "what is the name of your Payroll Manager, please?" If you can't reach a live operator or the receptionist won't help you, just start dialing extensions. Eventually, you will reach someone live, and when you tell them you have the wrong number, they will often be pleased to give you the right one.
C.J. Hayden, MCC
Author, Get Clients NOW! (tm) & Get Hired NOW! (tm)
Wings Business Coaching LLC, San Francisco, CA
Get Hired Now LLC, Carson City, NV
(415) 981-8845 or (877) 946-4722 in the U.S.
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