The first step in your cold call is
frequently an attempt to put a name on your prospect. You think a
particular company is a potential prospect--you just don’t know
whom you should speak with. How do you put a name on that person?
are five ways to find your prospect’s name:
1. Ask the receptionist
easiest way to name your prospect is to simply ask the
receptionist. A part of her job is to help you identify the
prospect. Another part of her job is to connect you. (Generally,
receptionists are underpaid and overworked. Callers are frequently
rude, so be very nice to the receptionist; she can be a tremendous
“Before you connect me, (P A U S E) I need to reach…” (give
title) “Who is that please?”.
(The key word here is: “before.” You say, “Before you connect
me” and then you pause because you want the receptionist to hear
the word “before” and that way give you a name before
she puts you through.)
Receptionist: "What is this in reference to?"
“What is this in reference to?” is different than later on
when the secretary or assistant says it. At this point the
receptionist doesn’t really mean what is this in reference to?
She means I do not understand what you want, I don’t know who to
connect you with. Remember: Her job is to connect you with
(Use the “Broken Record Technique”--Repeat what you just said but
a little. For example, if you want to reach the Senior Vice President of
Marketing:) I need to reach whoever handles marketing. I don’t know if that would be your Senior Vice President
of Marketing or your Marketing Director or your Advertising
Director... Who would handle that and what is the correct title?
(If you keep using the “Broken Record Technique” and throwing out
titles, eventually the receptionist will latch onto one and give
you a name)
if a company has a policy that they will not give out names at the
switchboard you can ask to be connected with that department. When
the receptionist in that area answers you start over with
“Before you connect me…”
2. Call the Chief Executive Officer:
theory here is that Executive Secretaries know everything. Call
the CEO’s office. Ask for the CEO. When the Executive Secretary
says, “What is this in reference to?” tell her. She will then
generally point you in the right direction, in addition to which
when you get to your prospect you can say, “the CEOs office said
I should be meeting with you,” implying that you actually spoke
with the CEO.
3. Randomly change the numbers of the general switchboard number:
the general number is –5000, call -5001, -5002, -5003 etc. and
keep going until you actually reach a human being. Ask them to
help you. “Would you help me please?” People love to help. Ask: “Who is in charge of that
department?” “Who is the liaison with…?” “Who should I speak
with?” “Who would handle that?” Once you get a name, ask:
“Do you have a company directory? Would you look up that
extension for me?” Sometimes they will, sometimes they
won’t—but it never hurts to ask.
4. The made-up name:
asking the receptionist the first time doesn’t work because
company policy forbids them to give out names, make up a name and
ask the receptionist for that person. The receptionist will say,
“There is no one by that name here.” You will say, “Oh, Jane
Jones used to be the Senior Vice President of (fill in the blank).
was the one I always dealt with. Who has taken over for her?”
Assuming that the receptionist has not been at the company since
the beginning of time and knows there was never any Jane Jones…
she may very well give you the prospect’s name.
5. A last resort;
Call Human Resources. Use the same technique
that you use with the receptionist. “Before you connect me…”