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How To Get Past The Gate Keeper

02/16/2016 11:28 EST | Updated 02/16/2017 05:12 EST
Eric Audras via Getty Images
Businesswoman talking on a landline phone in an office

I now present for your consideration one of my most reliable sales, er, job search tactics.

Early in my career I wanted a "position" -- not just a job but a position. You know what I mean? I wanted a title. One day many years ago I came to the conclusion that I'm just a sales guy. A VERY good sales guy but 'just' a sales guy none the less. Nothing wrong with that. It served me well in my commercial real estate career (where coincidentally I did earn a title) and I came to the job search business as a result of my status as, you got it, the sales guy.

I was the person who hit the phones and sold the first job board to the Houston, TX (USA) market. (Ask me sometime about how crazy successful I was during that period of time!)

So what has this got to do with you and your job search? Job search is sales and you have to compete with all those other equally talented candidates. One of the most difficult aspects of sales (and job search!) is the dreaded sales call aka the cold call. Cold calls are tough to make but highly effective. Early in my career I determined that if the phone was not ringing it was because I had not made enough calls.

My clients -- your target companies or organizations -- do not even know you and I exist until we reach out to them. It is our responsibility to make that first touch.There are passive (i.e.: social media) and active (in-person) ways to connect with people you don't currently know but want to.

So here is my secret. Just between you and me. (Promise me you will try this at least once, OK?)

Determine your target -- the hiring manager, the company owner, the SVP, the CEO -- it makes no difference. Ring up that person and when the gatekeeper answers ask for "the World Famous _________(insert world-famous person's name). It works every time. I have gotten CEO's on the line using this tactic. (I'm just a sales guy, remember?)

Here's what generally happens: the person who answers the phone is doing their job dealing with all the mundane things they have to deal with on a daily basis. But when I call I disrupt that mundanity (I just made up that word and I like it!) with my 'world-famous' intro and get a smile on the other end of the line (yes, you can 'hear' a smile) -- I know I have broken the ice. The hard part is done.

After a short laugh the result I usually get is "well I don't know if he/she is famous or not but (smiles)... who is calling please?"

From this point on you are on your own... but you're smart. I know you can handle it. Be prepared with a compelling reason for the person on the other end of the line to put your through to your desired contact.

In closing I would like you to know that I have shared this tactic with hundreds of people over the years and only know of one person who actually took it to heart and tried it. It worked. He emailed me the following day to tell me about his breakthroughs.

Please feel free to respond to this post and let me know how it works for you. If you have any break-the-ice techniques you would like to share please let me know. I am always up for a good sales, er, job search tactic!

As always, I wish you success!

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