TOOlS AND TACTICS
Here are 10 tactics to consider when
you’re trying to get through to the decision maker.
1Figure out who the decision makers are. This means the people with the
power to make decisions on whether
you are hired and the people who influence them (e.g., their gatekeepers). Do
a little research and start making a
“map” of where the decision makers
are. Visit the company’s website for information, but don’t be afraid to make
phone calls and ask questions. In your
search for the people who can write the
checks, don’t forget how important the
non-decision makers are . . . like a receptionist or an executive assistant.
2Craft an email. Make sure it addresses a problem the organization likely faces that
you can help solve. You may have a
brief description about how you have
been able to help similar organizations
solve a similar problem, but do not
oversell. Right now you just want an
appointment—save the selling for your
meeting with the decision maker.
3Use email to your advantage. But do not depend on an email alone. Sending an email to a company about your services without following up probably will not get you in
front of a decision maker. Chances are
it will get buried in the inbox. However, an email can provide a reason for
a follow-up call and give you a chance
to build relationships.
4Pick up the phone. You may call to follow up on an earlier email. If in doubt about
whom to call first, start higher in the
organization than you think you need
to. If the CEO or her secretary says to
speak to a lower-level director, ask if
they can forward the email you sent
earlier and copy you on it. This helps
because people in the organization will
often take an email from a superior
much more seriously than from an out-
5Distinguish yourself to the gatekeeper. This is key! Send the decision
maker an email asking for an appointment; then call the gatekeeper to see
if it was received. During the conversation, find something about the
gatekeeper that you can genuinely
compliment her on. Tell her you will
resend the email to her boss (the decision maker) and then include a compliment about her in the first line—and
make sure you copy her on the email.
She now has a vested interest in making
sure your email gets in front of the
decision maker. Be sincere and find
something you can truly compliment
him or her on.
6Use first names. Once you have an idea of who connects where in the organization, start referring to others by their
first names. Not only do people love to
hear their own name, it psychologically
helps them think of you as an insider.
7Take notes. Everyone likes to be remembered and feel important. During your
conversations with people, take note of
any information that is shared—even
seemingly insignificant information.
When you make a return phone call
and remember to ask how Sally’s vacation was or about the surgery Brian’s
wife had last week, you are showing
you care, building rapport and setting
yourself apart from others who call.
8Send a thank-you card. This should be a real card with a real envelope in the mail. Send the
card shortly after he or she helps you.
Sending a real card is becoming more
unusual, which is exactly why it will be
more effective. It shows you care.
9Be patient. Realize that getting into an organ- ization and connecting with a decision maker is usually not a one-day
process. More often than not, it will
take a few (or possibly several) more
outreaches before you can connect with
someone who can hire you.
10Be human. Remember, organizations are made of real people who
are just like you and me. They want to
feel respected and recognized. Do
something to recognize the gatekeeper
for something he or she did right,
whether or not you get through to the
decision maker. My guess is, you will
have more appointments than you
EksAyn Anderson is an
author, sales consultant
and public speaker. Recently
featured on Forbes, his new
book, The Key to the Gate:
Principles and Techniques to Get Past
Gatekeepers to the Decision Maker, has
organizations is in a
whole different league