• Cold Calling Tips For Negotiating with Phone Screeners

    I think the majority of IT business owners are more experienced negotiators when you compare their skills with other business owners.  But while they might be killer at haggling the big managed services deals they might not be as savvy about the negotiating techniques needed with everyday IT Marketing.  One example would be some of the skills needed to get through to a prospect while cold calling.

    One of the principals I have noticed is that phone screeners tend to give you one step less than what you ask for.  Of course, this would be completely normal if you were trying to close a sale because buyers usually try to low-ball your managed services offer to see if they can get a better deal.  This type of low-balling behavior is not something you would naturally think occurs in normal everyday situations.  However I have witnessed the follow behavior with phone screeners:

    • If you ask the phone screener to speak with a prospect that you don’t know, they will offer you their voice mail instead.
    • If you ask the gatekeeper for a contact’s voice mail, they will offer to take a message for you and give it to them later.
    • Of course, if you start out at the very bottom of the barrel and ask to leave a message, they will just tell you to call back or worse ask to be taken off the calling list.

    The point is to always ask for more than you are really want when prospecting and trying to identify who is the correct contact within a business.  Your intent should be to get transferred to the CFO’s voice mail so you can hear them announce their name.  This way you can record the name so that you can ask for them personally in the future and increase the chances of making contact.   Just make sure to remember to always ask for more than you want, so that when the screener knocks you down one level you end up right where you wanted to be in the first place!

    John Black is the Marketing Director at MSP Telemarketing. His experience ranges from writing articles, blogging, telemarketing, sales coaching and speaking at events.

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