Gatekeepers come in many, many forms. Sometimes it’s an automated system. Sometimes it’s a person. Sometimes the person is the executive assistant. Sometimes it’s just somebody answering the telephone. How do you get past the gatekeeper? Let’s go through 10 things right now.
Video: How to Get Past the Gatekeeper:
1. Don’t View Them as a Gatekeeper
First of all, don’t view them as the gatekeeper, but rather as the decision-maker. What do I mean by this? Treat them with the exact same respect and ask them the exact same questions that you plan to ask the decision-maker, if they were on the line. So, why should you do this? And why does it work so well? It’s very simple. They now see that you know what you’re talking about; therefore, you convince them to put you through to the person who is ultimately responsible for that information and decisions.
2. Call a Different Division
Calling a different division might be a different location, or even a different building, but don’t hesitate to call somewhere else in the organization. This is a very simple action, yet many times it is overlooked.
3. Call Before or After Hours
Again, this is very simple, routine, and note that it is number three. This means you call before or after hours. Remember that gatekeepers do take breaks. They don’t work all the time. This is why I love to say that sometimes the best time to prospect is a Friday afternoon or during holiday weeks, because often it’s a different person working that desk.
4. The Door Opener
View the gatekeeper as the door opener. This one is just a mindset shift. It’s amazing when you no longer see them as they gatekeeper, but as the decision-maker. Look at them as the door opener. If you look at them differently, you’ll respond to them differently and communicate with them differently.
5. Use Prompts
Many times when you call, there may be a prompt system in place. Listen to the menu because the menu has changed. Go through that. Look for a different prompt to call and just try it. Try a different number. You may not have any other phone number to call, but just try calling two digits off and see who you get. You have nothing to lose.
6. Online Research
Let’s not kid ourselves that you can find everything on the internet. Go out and look to see who else they’re talking about on their website. Who else is in the news? Who’s in social media? There are other people, so reach out and specifically ask for that person. You’ll be surprised that sometimes by asking for that specific person, you’ll be put you through.
7. Ask for Sales
You call and the gatekeeper doesn’t want to put you through, so ask for sales. You know who you’re going to get when you call sales? Probably a junior level sales person, because a senior person doesn’t just take phone calls like that. The junior level person will be anxious – they are anxious to make a name for themselves and to try to make a sale. You’ve got to be up front and honest with them. Share with them what you’re trying to do and they’ll probably respond with something like, “Hey, how can I help you? Because maybe there’s some people I can refer to you.” Most likely, they will help connect you.
8. Following Up
This involves simply saying, “Hey, I’m following up on some information we’ve been exchanging.” You may have sent them an email or two and you can now say, “Hey, I’m just following up”. Those two very simple words will often times get you through to who you need to talk to.
9. Show Respect
The other person is not a bowling pin to be knocked down. The gatekeeper door, open decision-maker, however you call it- they are an individual, and they are doing their job. They are doing their job to field and screen phone calls. Yes, show respect. View them for who they are, which takes me to the last way to get past the gatekeeper.
10. Words You Use
Include their name in the words you use. For instance, in the beginning of your conversation ask them, “What’s your name?” Respond with thank you, and then from there on out, address them professionally by name. Some other words and phrases to use are, “I’m looking for some assistance,” “May I ask you to help me?” and “Can I ask a favor of you?” These are simple ways to show respond in the words you use. When you communicate like this, it’s amazing how you can get through.
It is a false belief to think that the issue of gatekeepers will go away. Regardless of how tight companies become, the gatekeeper will always exist in one form or another. It all comes down to how you choose to view them. Don’t view gatekeepers as gatekeepers, view them as door openers and decision-makers. When you change your attitude towards gatekeepers, you’ll begin viewing them as door openers. Your perception will shift to viewing them as people who can make a decision for you and you’ll be astounded at your success.
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Copyright 2020, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.