What I suggest is that when the receptionist or manager asks you for your business card, and as you begin to pass the card, you hold it upside down. What I’m suggesting here is that you initially make it difficult for that receptionist or store manager to visually note your logo or company name.

Then, as you turn the card over, exposing your company name and logo, and beginning to hand it toward that “gatekeeper”, you continue with  “I am (your name here). I need to see the owner/general manager”. In this manner the receptionist or other gatekeeper is prevented from responding with something like “We don’t need an accountant”, or “You should talk to the company’s bookkeeper, he’s the one that works with the accountant”.

On a new business building call, you must position yourself as more than your services, and you must gain audience with the decision maker. While physically moving your business card forward, then back, and then finally turning it over and exposing your company’s name and logo, and presenting it to your initial contact or greeter, you say “You know, as soon as I give you my card, you’ll have a preconceived idea as to the value my services can have for your business. I need to see the owner/general manager”. 

You may or may not get to see the decision maker, but chances are strong that you will. You have to anticipate that your card will return from the decision maker with a message that he or she is (a) in a meeting, (b) on the phone, (c) otherwise disposed at this time, or (d) any one of the other standard turndowns.

While the gatekeeper is gone, the sharp business owner moves to the company’s reception or waiting room table. You know, the table that always has a variety of magazines that the company subscribes to. Inevitably one of those magazines will be subscribed to by the key manager or general manager of that company.

So, while you are waiting, you will be sure to write down that name with the correct spelling of that manager’s name, their title, their address, zip code, everything. Now if the gatekeeper returns, and you’re allowed in to talk to the decision maker, you’re lucky. So, if you’re allowed in, don’t blow it by launching into your best service and feature presentation.

No gimmicks, no fast-talking to bypass the negative response, just maintain your professionalism and prestige. Merely thank the receptionist, or gatekeeper, or whomever for their time, and while doing so, verify that the name and title you identified on the reception area magazine labels is in fact that of the key decision maker. Your meeting has not been cancelled, it has merely been postponed.


Sandra J. Klocinski has 25 years of practical experience dealing with small businesses: this is the foundation of her exceptional bookkeeping and administrative expertise. Sandra provides professional service while offering competitive rates and personal attention. To learn about the advantages of outsourced bookkeeping for your business visit Bookkeepers & More

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