Awhile back I wrote a post called Less Obvious Ways to Find A Decision Maker. I’ve discovered a few additional tactics since then that thought I’d share in a multi part post:
Call For Someone Who No Longer Works There
Calling into an 1000+ person company and asking the operator who manages a particular initiative (i.e. digital marketing) often results into getting routed to a department voicemail that never gets checked. Why you ask? Because you’re signaling that you’re a salesperson whose unfamiliar with the company. This is why it’s imperative to always have a name to call; it legitimizes yourself and compels people to take you seriously.
But Scott, there’s 18 marketing directors on LinkedIn and:
- I don’t know which one is actually responsible for my particular initiative
- None of them ever pick up their phone or call me back
Aww you poor thing…A clever trick you can do is call in and ask to speak to someone who used to be the right person. During the initial dialogue you can then leverage that legitimacy to extract information on who you need to talk to.
The process for doing this starts on LinkedIn where can utilize the faceted search in order isolate people who used to work at a company.
Step 1) Search the company name in the people field.
Step 2) Use the filter on the left hand side “past company.”
Step 3) Search the department name (i.e. marketing) with the previous company filter highlighted. You can even get pretty granular here and search for something very specific like “social media.”
Step 4) Continue to use filters to isolate someone who was likely the right point of contact and left within the past year. In this instance, let’s just say I was trying to find the guy who ran marketing for Google Chrome. Via the 3rd result:
Ok you’ve got a name. Now it’s time to knowingly call this person’s old company and ask to speak to them. You can likely find the corporate number on ECorporateOffices. Once connected, immediately dial 0 to be routed to the operator.
A script you can use:
“Hi X, can I speak with [old employee] please”
“I’m sorry he’s actually no longer with us”
“Ohh boy. Well I know he managed marketing for Google Chrome 8 months ago. Any idea who replaced him? I need to connect with this person about something important.”
At this point you’ll either a) get the name or b) be routed to someone within the appropriate department who will actually pick up their phone.
If the operator says, I’m sorry I actually am not sure who replaced that person. You can simply reply:
“I totally understand because I know you guys are a huge company and people move all the time. It’d be really helpful then, if you could connect me with someone within the department that will be able to point me in the right direction. Think you might be able to help me out?”
See how “unsalesy” the tone of voice I use here is. The goal is to seem familiar and legitimate, not like you’re another guy trying to sell ice to eskimoes.
If you’re re-routed to someone in the correct department, simply reiterate the old “I was hoping you might be able to help me out, do you know who handles [insert initiative].” If you’d like an exact script check out this video I made on “How to Find A Decision Maker” that includes that at [7:50].
At this point, the goal is simply to isolate the decision maker’s name so that you can approach via email. Once you’ve got their name and verified that they’re the person you need to talk to, the next step is to determine their email address and approach via email. It’s always optimal to approach busy people at large corporations via email because you don’t want to start off your correspondance by interrupting their day.
In part 2 of this post, I will be sharing a few more unconventional ways to find a decision maker. If you’ve found this interesting, make sure to subscribe to new posts or follow me on twitter so you don’t miss part 2.