The unfortunate reality of IT sales is that it doesn’t consist of simply setting up an appointment, making a sales call, and obtaining a sale. There are obstacles to overcome and company gatekeepers to engage with before you can finally get your message in front of the company’s decision makers. The following information can make this process easier and ensure that when you reach them, the decision makers are more favorable toward you and what you’re offering for sale.

1. Know Who It Is You Want to Reach

Make certain your efforts are directed at contacting the right person in the company’s hierarchy. Do enough research to identify the person who currently holds the position you’re interested in reaching. Personnel shifts can happen quickly, and if someone has been promoted or has left the company, your work could be wasted if the person you’re looking for is no longer there. Be wary of using printed company directories that could be out of date. Even websites could be incorrect if they haven’t been updated recently. It can be a good idea to call the company and ask who the main decision makers are. This also gives you the chance to ensure you’re pronouncing names correctly.

Even top-level decision makers want to be properly recognized, so make sure you have their names and titles correct before you begin the contact process. If you have a name wrong, it could make the decision maker question your commitment, ability to perform due diligence, and your basic research skills. Don’t give anyone in the company’s personnel structure a reason to think you’re sloppy or unwilling to do the work to support your IT sales activity.

2. Treat All Gatekeepers with Respect

The gatekeepers who control access to the IT sales decision makers can be found at most levels of the company. From the front-desk receptionist to the administrative assistant, from the lower-level managers to, possibly, even some department heads, these individuals can either hinder or facilitate your access to the person or persons you really want to see.

Treat these persons with the same respect and regard you would expect for yourself. Simple respect goes a very long way toward revealing your character and showing that you are someone the company would want to work with. A gatekeeper who likes you and respects you in return can make it much easier to reach the right decision makers within the company.

3. Be Persistent, But Not Annoying

Recognize that your first few attempts to reach key decision makers might not pay off with a meeting or appointment. Don’t give up. Remember that each sale is unique and that the needs of companies can change over time. Maintain your professionalism in your attempts to reach decision makers. In the process, do what you can to cultivate useful relationships and provide valuable information and assistance without asking for anything in return.

4. Use Your Network

If you have a colleague, friend, or family member who knows or works with the decision maker, ask for their help in getting you an introduction or meeting. If you approach decision makers after being recommended by someone they know, you’ll have a better chance of being able to reach those key personnel.

When you can contact the key decision makers at the IT companies you’ve targeted, you’ve made it much easier to present and ultimately sell your products and services.