5 Ways to Reach an Evasive Decision Maker

Identifying the correct decision maker, getting by any gatekeepers, and actually reaching the person in charge rather than their voicemail can be an epic journey in and of itself. So when you've finally had what seems like a great chat with that decision-maker, he says he'll get back to you... and then you can never reach him again, it's pretty frustrating.

If a decision-maker is ducking your calls it sometimes means he has no intention of buying from you. In those cases, there's no point in pursuing them further. But what about the decision-maker who is interested, but assigns you a lower priority than all the other things he's coping with right now? Sometimes all you have to do to close the sale is get him to sit still long enough to listen. If that describes your current situation, try one of these tricks to get his attention.

Try Different Approaches

Businessman unhappy when he sees who the incoming call is from
altrendo images / Getty Images

You call and call and call, and never get the live person (or a call back). Some people just hate phone calls and prefer not to do business that way. Others get a constant flow of phone calls all day and are tough to catch between calls. For both of these types of decision-makers, the answer is to try reaching them via another channel. Usually, the most effective second choice is email. Type up a quick refresher on your previous conversation and/or the last voicemail message you left, including a benefit or two to motivate the decision-maker, and inform him of the time and date you'll next be calling him back.

Enlist Inside Help

If you're talking to a gatekeeper every time you call, you're in luck. Why? Because you can't talk the voicemail robot into helping you out, but with a human being you've got a pretty good chance. The first time you talk with a gatekeeper jot down his or her name and hang onto it. When you call back and get the same person, greet her by name – she'll be flattered that you remembered her. Simple courtesy is often enough to get her on your side and actively helping you to reach the decision-maker. If she does help you to finally get an appointment with the decision-maker, be sure to send her a thank-you note or even a small gift such as a box of candy.

Enlist Outside Help

The Internet can provide an amazing amount of information about the average person if you know where to look. If your decision-maker is a business owner or executive, try LinkedIn. With luck, someone you know will be listed as one of his contacts and you can ask that mutual acquaintance for an introduction. If you're selling to a consumer, try Facebook or other social media sites. If all else fails, reach out to members of your network who might know the decision-maker.

Arrive in Person

When other contact attempts fail, leave a message informing the decision-maker that you'll be “in the area” at a certain time and will stop by their office to say hello. With luck, you'll be able to catch them in person and give a quick presentation. If the decision-maker is unavailable you can at least leave your card and perhaps a brochure or two.

Use *67

The next time you call that elusive decision-maker, press *67 before you dial her number. This will block your phone number from appearing on her caller ID. WARNING: Check your state and local telemarketing regulations before attempting this little trick. In some areas, it's illegal for telemarketers to call from a blocked number.