Pre-Call Checklist

Preparing for and starting the round of calls:

  • Be fluent in the talking points and flow of the conversation (pre-read all the info you’ve been provided about the potential client)
  • Get to know the gatekeeper.  The goal of the first call should not necessarily be to get to the Decision Maker, but rather to glean information.  Talk to this person; get to know the business from them.  Learn their name, so when you call back you can be on a first name basis.  Don’t push for a sale yet, but rather try to build a relationship with this person and glean any useful information you can about the business, any issues you might be able to ascertain, or who the decision makers are.  Knowledge is power.
  • Conversation Starters with the gatekeeper
    • “So what is it that you do here?”  Tell me about what you do? Take the time to chat with this person if able to gather data about the business.
    • How big is your office, oh?  How many people?
    • “I see your company does X, tell me what makes you different?”
    • “So how do you help people solve problems?”
    • “What are your biggest problems?”
    • What is the best thing you have to offer customers?
    • I couldn’t find what I was looking for on your site, could you help me locate it?
    • Can I get more information or contact you on your website?  
    • Asking someone about their website is a great way to get a feel for if they think it’s working.  If the gatekeeper comes back with anything negative about their web presence, or voices concerns save that info!
    • Are you guys on any social networks I could check out to learn more?
    • Who can I talk to in order to learn more about your services?
  • If you can get a level deeper into the business, say to a salesperson or something, you can use the same sort of questions to probe that person.
    • Again focus on asking questions like “tell me in your words what makes you guys different?”
    • Do you have any suggestions on what I could find on your website?
    • Do you have any marketing information you could share?  If no, see what the reaction to this is.  Likely a sore point for a sales person to not be able to help.  If you get a yes, get the information emailed to you and we can review it from a design point of view.
    • “Oh wow we could really help with that.  Who do you recommend I talk to?”
  • Put any new/improved contact information into the CRM, including the gatekeepers name and any information that may help us to bypass them in the future.
  • Again the goal here is not to get past the gatekeeper right to a Decision Maker, but rather to gather intel and find out more about the company.  Ultimately the goal is to learn who the Decision Maker is.  
  • After a call or two like this, with gathered data, you can call back in a manner similar to this:
    • “Hey Susan {gatekeeper}, I was talking to Jim {Sales Rep}  in sales and he was unable to find info on X.  He suggested I talk to Tom {Decision Maker}  is he in?
    • Or if you can get a name out of the first few calls you might just try “Hey is Tom {Decision Maker} in right now?  Had a question.  
    • I find that after I know the name of a Decision Maker, if I call and act like I know that person, I tend to get through more easily.  For current clients with gatekeepers, simply by shifting from “Is your VP of marketing in?” to “Hey is Tom in today?” I tend to get through without a “Who are you and why are you calling??” reaction.