7 tips to pass the assistant and get connected to the fashion buyer
Gosh, when you are a manager in your company, you're appreciating it when not all calls are getting straight through to you.
That's why you might have your assistant. To separate the important from the non-important.
So you can focus on your work without getting disturbed by all sorts of calls.
Let's face it.
It can be distracting, annoying, interrupting, and at certain points, your nerves would suffer.
Yes, that's your side...
On the flipside
Have you ever experienced something similar to this?
You try to speak to a prospect, make a call, and request the assistant to put you through to the buyer.
The assistant asks the question:
Assistant: “What is your call about?“
Then you start to explain...
The clever assistant understands after a few seconds that there's just another salesperson on the line.
Who wants to sell them something.
And he requests you to send a company profile. Topped with the information that in case the company is interested you will hear from them.
That will likely not happen.
Yes, when it comes to your side - and you are trying to speak to the decision-maker - you can occasionally have a tough time.
It can get frustrating.
Especially if nobody knows you yet. Since you are one of the numberless suppliers approaching them each and every day.
If the question: “What is your call about?” is coming - no worries
That's fair enough.
What to do?
To get past this person who wants to keep salespeople like you away from their bosses.
If you are a long-time reader, you already know I'm not a fan of 'tricks'.
As they don't work, destroy your credibility and most important seriously damage the trust in you and your company.
So, I'm putting together the tactics that work well for me.
That said tried them out with success.
However, as always in sales, there's no magic pill to swallow.
Sometimes it'll work - sometimes it won't.
So here are my 7 favorite strategies what you can do to get through the gate:
I created a FREE RESOURCE for you. You can download it here.
1) Think rational & positive
- I started to understand that this person is just trying to do her/his job. Nothing bad about it, this person wants to decide best for her/his boss and their company. They are people just like you and me trying to do their jobs.
- Interested in the assistant her/himself as a person.
- Same as I'd speak to the buyer I spoke to the decision-maker on the phone. No difference. I told exactly the same. This leads to the situation that the assistant says that he/she is not entitled to decide this and would better put me through to the maker. Great - then I'm through.
By the way, it sometimes turned out to lead to a fruitful discussion. With interesting topics and I got valuable information from the assistant.
2) Act transparent & honest
- Straightforward, honest, and clear about who I am and what my call is about.
3) Sound cheerful & respectful
- Cheerful, respectful, warm, friendly, charming, likable, polite, confident. The best natural, bright, genuine version of myself. As long as you remain yourself - you are golden.
- Smile – this is hearable.
- I use please twice. I tested this recently and it works well. Like this: " This is Heike Siegel from XXX can you please put me through to Petra Schmidt, please?" So, two times please, at the middle and at the end of the sentence. This sounds polite and respectful.
4) Communicate helpful & curious
- Communicate the outcome and benefit of the service/ product you are offering for your prospect. Or the problems you can help solve.
- For example: “It's about an exchange and an idea about the improvement of revenue for your brand XXX in denim pants.”
5) Call late or early
- Try out and time your call early. Or extremely late in the evening. Buyers tend to work long hours and good chances to get across the assistant in this natural way by sidestepping the assistant. Simple, effective, and purposeful.
6) Ask for help
If nothing else works - ask for help somewhere else.
One time I remember I was almost giving up. There was no way to get through by phone to the buyer. It drove me literally mad.
So, what I did was I called a completely different department. Just dialed any number. A surprised person picked up the phone.
I explained that I tried to speak to the buyer. Explained the benefits I was trying to achieve for them. But had no chance to get through to the decision-maker.
And if she would be so kind to tell me the phone direct extension number or even better put me even though. Yes, luckily, she was helping.
7) Try to avoid
So undoubtedly best is when the critical question like: ”What is your call about?” is not coming at all and you are put through directly.
Here are still a few mini tactics for avoiding. Which help and won't harm.
- Use first name and family name:
Please say "Petra Schmidt" instead of "Ms. Schmidt".
This could give the assistant the impression that you already know the buyer.
- A little tricky tactic might be also if you drop in occasional tone:
"Is Petra Schmidt already back from her trip?"
"Is Petra Schmidt already back from her meeting?"
As buyers are anyway traveling all the time- or spending time in meetings you have a good chance that the assistant replies and say: "Yes, she's back, I put you through..."
The advantage is that you ask a question, and now the assistant needs to think. Deal with. And reply to this.
In addition, you opened a casual mini conversation.
This is not as stiff and may result in not asking the question: "What's your call about?"
Boom, you'll get put through your desired person without further ado.
Match this with a naturally friendly tone in your voice.
When your sales start going up, you will be so thankful that you found out the secrets to get through to the buyer. Without getting blocked by the assistant.
To DOWNLOAD the FREE RESOURCE. Print it out and keep it handy whenever you like to call a new potential buyer.
You will have a guide to help you how to turn a "What is your call about?" into a: "Yes, I am connecting you..."
You've got this!
P.S. If you'd really liked what you read, please share and connect with me on LinkedIn.
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