Very often, when pursuing leads, you will encounter roadblocks. They will come in many shapes and sizes. If you’ve read my earlier posts, you already know that the most common roadblock you will encounter is a low-level person (a gatekeeper of one sort or another) whose job is to blow you off. This Tale From The Trench will illustrate, in spades, how important it is not to let these underlings prevent you from keeping your eye on the ball.
Client: a project management firm
Target: a major metropolitan hospital complex with large projects planned
After getting bounced around from one department to another at the hospital (half of pursuing leads is simply doing good detective work), I finally reached the Master Plan Department (sounds like a real important department, doesn’t it?). I spoke with a very pleasant woman who listened to my pitch and then said, “we have already retained a project management company and have been using them for over 2 years. So—thanks but we don’t need your services.” I thanked her for the information and asked her for the name of the project management firm that they’d supposedly been using. She gave me the name (let’s call them Hammer Ltd). When I asked her what her title was, she told me that she was department secretary. As soon as I heard what her title was, I became very skeptical. Secretaries, generally, don’t know what is actually going on at the company—they are just trained to get phone solicitors off the phone, and quickly. Next, I Googled Hammer Ltd and I discovered that they aren’t a project management company at all, but an architecture firm. So much for the secretary’s information. I called Hammer Ltd and was quickly able to find out the name of the fellow in charge of the hospital project. I called him and got lucky—his office phone forwarded to his cell and he answered on the first call. He was the nicest guy I’ve spoken to in a long time and, it turns out, was not actually supervising the project that I was calling about but he was overseeing two other very large projects and was more than happy to schedule a meeting so that my client could introduce our firm’s services. As if that weren’t enough, he then gave me the name of the person at his firm who actually was in charge of overseeing the project that I had originally been calling about. I called that contact at her office and booked an appointment with her too! There is a tremendous amount of potential business to be had with these two appointments.
So, what’s the takeaway? Don’t let gatekeepers distract you and be skeptical! Lower level people don’t know what’s going on and, more than likely, have been told by their bosses to just end solicitation calls as quickly as possible. Keep your eye on the ball and you’ll get in the door, time and time again.