You know you would close more sales if you could just have a conversation with a decision maker.

After all, research by SCi Sales Group found that only 47% of higher-level executives rejected their last three sales calls.

How can you get past the gatekeeper so you can have that conversation? There are a few methods for getting your calls or emails to the person who needs to see them:

  • Guess their email
  • Find referrals
  • Call earlier or later than usual

1. Guess their email

After you know the company has a need for your product, start your search for the decision maker’s contact information. The fastest way to get in touch with a decision maker is probably emailing them.

Use Rapportive and Distilled’s email permutator that help with your search. You can also used Thrust orConnectifier.

2. Use LinkedIn

“Peter Belanger, president, Sales Rebound Associates, recommends joining LinkedIn groups to build up your second degree connections on LinkedIn,” at least 50, according to Dan Salazar of Velocify. You can then send them personal messages on LinkedIn to get in touch.

If you don’t join LinkedIn groups, you can still send InMail but it’s limited to a few credits with the option to purchase more.

3. Find Referrals

If these methods fail, try reaching out to other members of the organization to obtain an “internal referral,” Lori Richardson of Score More Sales proposes. Or, try to find an external referral.

Keep this step simple. You only want to find out who is the decision maker. Consider the template below.

Sample Email Template from Tactical Sales Training:

Subject: Where shall I start



I’m hoping you can help me. Who handles the [insert pain point here] decisions at your company and how might I get in touch with them?



Tactical Sales Training suggests you discontinue a template, or test new versions of your current one, if it does not have at least a 7-9% response rate.

4. Do Your Research Before Calling

Once you have contact information for the decision maker, don’t call the person immediately. Instead, take some time to prepare.

Use the 3×3 research approach developed by Vorsight : take three minutes to find “three valuable pieces of information.” These are the only 3 things you will use as talking points on the email or phone call.

5. Call Earlier or Later Than Usual

When that is prepared, try to call in the early evening hours when the decision maker may be working late or early in the morning before meetings begin.

Richardson suggests you “call before 8AM or after 5PM.” This way you avoid calling when that person is in meetings.

Ask for permission to talk and acknowledge that you are interrupting the other person’s work.

6. Utilize Voicemail

If you are calling and unable to reach the decision maker, leave a voicemail that facilitates interest, but is vague, suggests Richardson.

She also says if “you leave multiple [voicemails] over time, make sure to ‘own’ not reaching them – you’ve called when they were away from their desk, they are super busy, etc.”

Be Persistent

Arm your cold-emailing or cold-calling campaign with the above techniques for getting past the gatekeeper to the decision maker. Circle through your options, whether they are email, phone calls, or even direct mail.


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