Getting through to the person you need to talk to


Published: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 21, 2007 at 10:39 p.m.
Q: Is anyone else having trouble getting through to people today?
Is there something that other people are doing that I don't know about? A: I had an out-of-town guest visit me recently.
We were listening to the Seattle weather report, and she started laughing because of all the different ways that the weatherman had referred to rain - showers, downpour, drizzle, and her favorite - sun breaks.
We have a lot of options for talking about rain in the Northwest. Unfortunately, when it comes to getting through to a key contact, most of us suffer dry spells because we have too few options for getting through. The rest of this column will rain ideas over you for how to actually get in contact with the people you need to connect with. For more, check out ''Complete Idiots Guide to Cold Calls'' by Keith Rosen (Alpha, 2004).
  • Voice mail? A close second.
  • Cell phone? But remember, many people don't like work calls on their cell.
  • Business phone? Going through the company switchboard has worked for me.
  • Snail mail? For most of us it's unusual to get a letter, so retro can have its rewards.
  • Overnight package? Expensive, but often effective.
  • In person? Talking about retro, remember when we met face-to-face?
  • Hang out in bathroom nearest their desk? I'm embarrassed to admit, this did work for me once. Only works with contacts of the same sex, however.
  • Online social networks? A friend of mine swears by MySpace for making business contacts.
  • Offline social networks? Do a little homework and you might be able to bump into the person you really need to meet at Rotary, the Chamber, etc.
  • Vendors? Sometimes a vendor can help make a contact for you, or they can provide a key bit of information about how to get your foot in the door.
  • Sales people? Like vendors, some sales people might have valuable insight to help your cause.
  • Trade shows? Trade shows are just one way that an association can provide a platform for you to meet a key contact.
  • Secretary?
    Far too many people see secretaries as an obstacle. I can't tell you how many times befriending an assistant has gotten my foot in the door.
  • Close associate? Whether they broker the meeting or just point you in the right direction, key contacts can help.
  • Friend? The great part of a friend is they often not only can help you get in touch with the person, they can give you insight about the do's and don'ts in terms of dealing with them.
  • Wrong number? I once purposely called the wrong department within a company. They transferred me to the person, but instead of my number on their phone it showed this other department's number. The person picked up. Sometimes a wrong number can get you what you need.
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