As you all know, I am a strong proponent of calling into companies to gather information, particularly the employee name/title/contact info kind of information. You also know that I am an advocate of going directly at the Gatekeeper and asking her for precisely the information that is being sought. The “trick” is in the asking – if you ask for ONE THING AT A TIME you are far more likely to achieve your goal than if you demand of her, “I need to know who all thirteen of your sales reps are on the West Coast,” information you divined from some unwitting soul on an earlier call into same company.
Although most Gatekeepers are way beyond the usual sets of intelligence most of us possess, occasionally, and I do mean occasionally, you’ll get someone who truly lacks the knowledge you seek.
“Hello, Cindy, this is Maureen Sharib. May I speak with your Director of External Reporting?”
“I don’t know who that is.”
“Then can you connect me to your finance department?”
“I don’t think we have one.”
When this happens, you have to help this poor soul help you. Glancing quickly at my screen and the list of executives Hoovers provided to me when I set the job up, I note the CFO’s name listed four slots down on the org chart.
“Can you transfer me to your Chief Financial Officer, John Garrison?”
“Oh - him! Sure, why didn’t you say so?” she laughs. “One moment please!”
(Quickly) “Cindy, before you transfer me, can you tell me, does he have an Administrative Assistant?”
“He has an Executive Assistant,” she reminds, beginning to sound more informed than she did at first. “Her name is Marie Kovack – you want me to transfer you to her?”
“If you would Cindy, but before you do, IN CASE I GET DISCONNECTED, does Marie have a direct dial?”
“Yes, she does, you want it?”
Thinking I just told her I did and reverting back to my original suspicion as to her intelligence level, I purr, “Yes, Cindy, I do, if you don’t mind.”
She gives it to me and then she waits. I suggest, once again repeating the most beautiful sound in the world to her, her name, in an attempt to bee-charm the bee, “Cindy, can you look to see if there is anyone listed under Mr. Garrison?”
I hold my breath, ready for whatever she comes back with.
She hesitates before announcing, sounding somewhat surprised, “Well yes, he has several “under” him, by the looks of it!”
“Oh, that’s helpful!” I reward. “Can you read off their titles to me?” I boldly go where not many dare.
She begins to read and the third one down, after the VP of Finance who appears to report to the Controller, is, miracle of miracles, wouldn’t you just know it, the Director of External Reporting!
“Bingo!” I cry, sounding as if she’s discovered something really important and letting her know I appreciate her capabilities as a Gatekeeper. “And what is that person’s name?” I ask, sounding in great admiration of her and like this whole thing is her idea.
“Joan Peterson,” Cindy immediately beams back, and I breathe a sigh of relief as I quickly type it into my silent keyboard, along with the title.
“And does Joan have a direct dial?” I ask, looking for as much information as I can press out of this ripe fruit.
“She does – you want it?” Cindy asks me again to my wonder.
She gives it to me; I thank her for her assistance and hang up.
“Next,” I think to myself as I dial the next target.
Mission (once again) accomplished.
This information is not to be re-published for commercial purposes in any form without the prior written permission of Maureen Sharib.
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