By Ron S. LaVine, MBA, President and Founder of Accelerated Sales Training >
When calling 1-(Area Code)-555-1212 for long distance or 411 for local information assistance, before you are transferred into the “here’s your number” recording, ask the operator to stop and please help you. Since you are entitled to two phone numbers and at least one address, you can best maximize the value of this simple call by politely asking for as much free information as possible. You must be prepared to do this quickly. As soon as I hear a live voice, I say:
“Hold it please!, I need your help. First, I need the main number for the headquarters of ABC Company and I’ll also need their address. How many listings, phone numbers or departments do you show listed? Do you show any other listings in the surrounding areas? Are they stores or factories?”
After getting the two (or more if you are nice and pleasant), area codes (remember they change a lot) and phone numbers, be sure to ask for the street address including the zip code. Getting a correct address and phone number will cut your company’s communication costs and directly to profits by sending less mail or making less calls to the wrong location.
Remember to ask for as many numbers as possible, especially specific departments you have an interest in such as “Is there any listing for ABC Company’s Data Processing or anything with computers in the department listings-” Not only will you save time; you may also uncover additional locations in nearby cities. This can create more sales opportunities or entry points into a suspect, lead, prospect, or customer’s company to find the decision maker(s).
Try this and you will be amazed at the amount of information available free, from the information operator. Remember information operators are people not machines. Be different. Be extremely nice and polite when you make your request and the odds go up you will get even more information than you asked for in the first place.