“I don’t know who I’m calling,” Marianne said.
“That’s the problem, isn’t it?” I answered, while thinking to myself that none of us ever really do.
She nodded unhappily.
“Did you read One Lesson Lois?” I asked.
She nodded that she had.
“Did any of that resonate with you?” I asked again.
“Well, sort of,” she said.
“But Lois was never in the recruiting business so I can kind of understand her reluctance. I know it’s my job to call people …” she trailed off.
I watched her body language as she said this.
The right hand that she had drawn back clenched to her chest moved to her leg and she started to scratch at her knee. Her left hand went to her mouth and started pushing at her lower lip.
She appeared to be thinking.
I was aware that on the first day of training Marianne’s co-workers joked that they never heard her on the phone. The joke included the explanation that her speech on the phone was so low that the others in adjoining cubicles couldn’t hear her — like a “mouse in church,” as her manager referred to her.
“It’s just that I don’t know what to say when they ask me why I’m calling!” she blurted.
“Now that you know you can eliminate much of that with your approach does that make any difference?” I asked.
“I suppose,” she admitted, reluctantly. “I guess old habits die hard,” she admitted, and laughed.
“But they do die, Marianne, if you replace them with other habits. That takes practice,” I said, feeling like Mother Hen.
As I said that I reached for the phone and nodded to her to put her headset on.
I called the first number we had on the TDW list and a bright young thing answered.
She didn’t tell me her name so I skipped right in, asking simply, “This is Maureen Sharib. Can you tell me, do you all offer pigging services from your office?”
“We don’t here, Maureen, but we do in our other TX office. You want the number?” she answered, helpfully.
“Absolutely, I do. That would be a great help.”
She gave me the number.
“Can you also tell me who I should ask for in that office?’
I could feel the tension tightening next to me.
“Sure! Ask for Paul Miller* — he heads our pigging services group.”
What’s his title?” I asked.
“Pigging Services Director,” she answered.
I scribbled Paul’s name down before asking, “In case I can’t reach him — is there anyone else in the pigging group I might try?”
“Let me look in that office,” she answered.
It’s long been one of my stock-in-trade tricks to call one office to gather information about another.
When I don’t have any names in to a particular target (and this is the case far more than you’d suspect) this can be a very effective technique.
When she said, “Let me look in that office,” she revealed to me she had access to the company corporate directory that probably included worldwide information.
Think of the power in that!
“There are several people listed under him,” she said. Without me having to ask, she went on. “There’s Michelle Michaels, Peter Lynn, Mark Lunowski, Jerome Matheson, Trey Walters, Renee Barr, Tommy Wu and Bob Rivers. You need them all?” she added.
Little did she know I already have them — having scribbled them as fast as she said them.
I took a chance.
“What I really need to know is are any of them listed as engineers?”
I held my breath.
“Well, yeah, three of them are.”
This time I waited, silently.
“Peter Lynn, Jerome Matheson, and Tommy Wu. They’re called ‘sales engineer.’”
“Is one of them the manager?” I pushed.
“No, it looks like Trey Walters is the manager. Sales Engineering Manager,” she enumerated, sounding like she was enjoying this exchange.
“And the others?” I prompted, wanting to better understand how they might be structuring their groups inside these companies.
“The others look like Sales Reps and Account Reps,” she answered.
“Who’s what?” I asked.
“Michelle Michaels is the admin, Mark Lunowski is sales; Renee Barr and Rivers are Account Reps.”
“That’ll do it!” I exclaimed before asking just one more question, “Do any of them have direct dials or extensions?”
Not only did they have direct dials, they also had cell numbers and she gave all of them to me.
After I’d hung up Marianne sat quietly, shaking her head.
“I can’t believe she gave all that to you!” she then exclaimed.
“That the issue here, Marianne –you must believe,” I said. “If you don’t believe you’re going to sound worried and full of self-doubt and she’s going to hear it. You get that, right?”
“But she didn’t ask you why you needed all that information!” Marianne cried.
“They rarely do,” I answered.
“Her job is to help. That’s what she just did.”
She nodded that she understood but I could see she still had her doubts.
Like Bob did, about Lois (see One Lesson Lois).
I’m going to end this series here letting you know that Marianne did have some success on the phone while I sat with her and that one of the techniques we used was calling into plants and talking to a couple Plant Managers who had used pigging services that had been mentioned in testimonials on a few of the sites.
If you had visited the link in Part VIII when I first introduced Marianne’s challenge you would have seen the Wikipedia explanation that, “Pigging has been used for many years to clean larger diameter pipelines in the oil industry. Today, however, the use of smaller diameter pigging systems is now increasing in many continuous and batch process plants as plant operators search for increased efficiencies and reduced costs…Pigging systems are already installed in industries handling products as diverse as lubricating oils, paints, chemicals, toiletries, cosmetics and foodstuffs.”
The Plant Managers we were able to reach were very helpful in giving us names of people who had worked on their installations and additional companies in the industry.
Marianne was let go about a month after our training exercise.
I do not know where she is today.
*All the names listed at TDW are fictional and TDW’s results are actually the results of another company in the industry. For privacy purposes I am not comfortable putting results of any particular company on the Internet. TDW’s results were different.
This is an ongoing series regarding phone sourcing. Here’s part I, part II, part III, part IV, part V, part VI, part VII, part VIII, and part IX.
Here is this Tuesday’s Phone Sourcing Tip/it is also listed in the ASK Maureen group here on ERE. ?I hope you’ll join and contribute to our discussion!
Phone sourcing is simple but it’s not easy.
There’s a ton of tension in the process for most people.
Excellent phone sourcers know how to use that tension to energize them selves and direct the flow of information.
There’s every bit as much science to this as art.
The science comes in the understanding of human nature (including our own) and the art flows out of that.
Once again I hope you enjoyed this series.
I enjoyed writing it.
Maureen Sharib, 2011