As the world progresses towards a global playing field, business decision makers are often bombarded with various service offerings from almost every corner of the world. The gatekeepers job has thus become more of a necessity than an option across all businesses small or large.
The gatekeeper has two major job responsibilities:
1. Granting the appropriate person to speak with their supervisor
2. Filtering out unwanted callers from getting in touch.
You may consider a gatekeeper as someone who sits by a desk and answers calls all day, but their work is far more complicated.
Between categorizing the preferences of the CXO, conducting with different people for internal and external meetings, and supervising their inboxes, gatekeepers hardly get a breather in between their unpredictable schedule.
Gatekeepers are often under strict instructions to filter out any sales call which makes it especially difficult for a salesperson to get through to the decision maker. Sidestepping the gatekeeper is, thus a mandatory skill for all salesmen to master. Although it shouldn’t worry a salesperson too much because at the end of the day, that the toughest gatekeepers are also human. So, here’s a few strategies you could use.
But, before knowing how to conquer, let’s know categorically whom you need to conquer.
Gatekeeper: The Receptionist
The receptionist is the most dealt with person for a cold caller. They answer every phone and pretty much are aware of the needs and schedule of their employer.
They are also required to do general administrative tasks. Sadly, their instructions usually include not letting a salesperson get through. However, if you know what you are doing, there are ways to overcome this hurdle.
Here are some tips for obtaining your spot.
Attend gatekeeper with respect and integrity
It is a very important for a cold callers to display utmost respect while at the same time maintaining authority while making calls. Respect and integrity are vital for establishing a connection and will drastically improve chances to make a sale. On the other hand a lack of these can result in immediate hang up.
There are some points to maintain your respect giving with integrity:
- You should never deceive
- Don’t be a jerk
- You should not say you know the person if you don’t
- Don’t tell the gatekeeper you have an appointment
You can get past the gatekeeper by telling a lie, but it will shut the door for you to sell. You cut out the credibility and with a lie, you can’t begin a successful business relationship. So, for a new loyal client, this approach is not recommended.
Don’t try to take down the gatekeeper. It is not a winning strategy for you as a cold caller. Gatekeeper’s negative experiences with you can impact how the prospect perceives you, and their enthusiasm to accord you a chance. So, treat everybody with respect.
Better, Don’t tell the gatekeeper that you know the prospect if you don’t know the prospect. Don’t tell the gatekeeper you have an appointment if you don’t. It is a rookie move and is impossible to recover. Try to honest with your actions and words.
Understand their Words:
Be attentive to everything the gatekeeper says. They will often pass along clues and bits of information that can be useful when you speak to your prospect or decision-maker. Try to understand and show at least a little empathy towards them. This is also a part of your research and it is a process of every single day. Try to understand their psychology as they can have scary bosses, they have to deal with various kinds of people daily and have to speak to hundreds of salespeople every single week.
Be confident and relaxed:
If you are nervous, you will lose the capacity to send out a positive message. It will indicate your inexperience and the gatekeeper will lose confidence in you to forward you to the boss. Just like confidence, the tension comes through in your voice. The tension in a sales call is yours, not their’s.
So try to be confident, head up, breathe deeply and your voice will show the difference.
Gatekeepers influence is not a thing to underestimate:
In smaller companies, people wear numerous different hats. In big companies, gatekeepers can hoist immense influence over an executive’s time and priorities. Don’t assume the gatekeeper is not involved in the decision. Treat them with respect, and you will never have an uncomfortable moment.
Gatekeepers aren’t your customers:
You might need to clarify your reason for calling, but don’t “pitch to the gatekeeper.” If they ask for more information after your short explanation of the reason for your call, you might counter by asking them to explain how they are involved in the decision-making process. I call this charging for information. Don’t give information away without asking for information in return.
Keep your eye on the prize:
It is better not to get too personal with the gatekeepers. Don’t waste valuable selling time building relationships with gatekeepers. Always stay focused and keep your eye on the prize.
Never say never:
You should not give up. Gatekeepers are a part of the texture of sales. There is not a silver bullet for moving beyond the gatekeepers, but a successful salesperson must remain committed to prospecting if they are to have any significant long-term success.
The mistake of burning the bridge:
Don’t burn the bridge between you and the gatekeeper. It is a very fatal mistake. At small organizations, gatekeepers get promoted to discussion-making positions, and at large organizations, gatekeepers move to support different executives. Worse yet, gatekeepers are often promoted along with the executives that they support. Burning a bridge with a gatekeeper could lock you out of a potential client for years.
Be humorous because humor works in all walks of life. People might not remember what you said, but they always remember how you made them feel. Make them laugh and maintain a conversation in a jolly way.
From the above, we can see getting past the gatekeeper and reaching your desired contact is not easy. Whichever route you decide to take, keep in mind that respect and manners win out in the end whenever you’re dealing with other people. So, follow the process and have effective and enjoyable selling.