This is what transpired during one of my calls –
Me: Hello, Good Morning!
Receptionist: Good morning Sir
Me: I am Sivaraman calling from company – Y
Me: Can I please talk to Mr. X?
Receptionist:I would need his badge number
Me: I am sorry. What is that?
Receptionist: All our employees have a badge number Sir. You have to give me that
Me: Sorry, I don’t know Mr.X’s badge number. Can you look him up in the extension directory please?
Receptionist: Let me see…(a min later) Sorry Sir, I cannot find him
Me: Can you please find Mr. W then?
Receptionist: Mr. W? This is regarding?
Me: This is regarding a business meeting
Receptionist: What business Sir?
Me: Can I please talk to him directly about it? (ending with a smile)
Receptionist: Hmm…I am putting him through. Please hold
Me: Thank you!
W: Hello, W speaking, who is this?
Me: Good morning Sir! I am Sivaraman calling from Y. I got your reference from ____. Is it a good time to talk to you? Can I have 5 minutes of your time?
W: (a little hesitating) Yes…What is this regarding?
Me: Sir, this is regarding….blah blah..
This is one experience where I got to handle 3 objections and got rewarded ultimately. When making calls, it is important to handle certain objections, especially if we are calling the board number and talking to a receptionist.
Objection: Mr. X does not work here/Mr. X is in a meeting/business trip/on vacation
Counter: Can I talk to Mr. W then?
Objection: He is not available today/He is not at his desk
Counter: Is he on vacation?/Is he in a meeting?/When can I call again?/Can I have his extension number?/Can I have his email id please?
The idea is to get as much information as possible in a single call. It can get really annoying to a receptionist if we assume a rigid/matter-of-fact tone. One has to respect the time of a receptionist.
When we get to the person we want to talk to, we ideally get a maximum of 5 minutes, so, we should get to the objective of the call as quickly as possible.
Homework before calling is paramount.
The success rate of cold calling is not very high. Hence, it pays to be persistent and methodical. Cold calling should always be complemented by direct mailing and follow-ups to be effective.