Dealing with gatekeepers when pushing for a sale

08 Oct, 2021 - 00:10 0 Views
Dealing with gatekeepers when pushing for a sale The key to getting past the gatekeeper is sounding confident over the phone

eBusiness Weekly

Robert Gonye

If you’re in sales, chances are you’ve encountered plenty of situations in which you’re trying to reach a CEO or C-level executive to pitch your product or service . . . only to get stopped by a gatekeeper.

Gatekeepers — who are typically executive assistants, receptionists, or office managers — are the people who stand between you and the decision-maker with whom you’re hoping to make a sale.

But experienced sales reps know that gatekeepers don’t have to be a roadblock in your sales process. Instead, a gatekeeper can (and should) be used as an opportunity to win the prospect’s trust.

Here, we will share some industry tips you can use when you find yourself up against a gatekeeper.

How to get past the gatekeeper when cold calling

  1. Treat the gatekeeper as a resource, not an obstacle

Consider gatekeepers less an obstacle, and more a resource when trying to reach a decision-maker.

“If it’s a receptionist or an assistant, they hold so much power in what the decision-maker’s day-to-day looks like — so lean into that. If they aren’t in a rush to get off the phone, take some time to ask how their day is going and get to know them.”

It might seem simple, but treating the gatekeeper as a human is an important tactic when trying to reach executives. And it’s the right thing to do, too. When you do this, gatekeepers will usually open up a bit more, and are more willing to give information as to when you should call back or the best way to reach the decision-maker.”

  1. Name-drop a connection

Two strategies that work well when getting past a gatekeeper.

First, “Name-drop someone they’re likely to know (e.g. someone in their sphere/market, or someone who works for a bigger brand name). When met with gatekeepers and using this approach, I’d say something like ‘Oh, I’ve been working with John in your market, who knows. He wanted me to connect — can you put me through to help make that happen?’”

Alternatively, if you don’t have a strong connection to the decision-maker, consider how you might name-drop a publication related to their work.

You might say something like, “‘I’ve been watching some decision-maker’s, The Market Watch, and as a speaker in multiple industry publications myself, I’d like to connect to discuss these topics further. Can I speak to them about that now, please?’”

It doesn’t hurt to do your research. The more you know about the decision-maker, the easier it is to connect on a personal level with the gatekeeper and demonstrate you’re not just another cold caller.

  1. Be polite and exude confidence

It might sound simple, but in practice, it’s a little more challenging. Perhaps it’s the end of the month and you haven’t hit quota yet. As a result, you might come across as exasperated or frustrated when speaking with a gatekeeper. But that’s not what you want.

Instead, ensure you sound respectful and courteous. It’s not fair to convey your stress to the gatekeeper — they’re just doing their jobs, too.

  1. Don’t use the decision-maker’s last name

The key to getting past the gatekeeper is sounding confident over the phone. Additionally, success is found by asking for the decision-maker by first name only.

Never use the person’s full name. I repeat . . . never use the person’s full name! If you’re talking to a friend, would you address your friend by first and last name? No.”

If they ask for the last name, of course you should give it, but never lead by addressing your prospect by their full name.”

  1. Don’t lie

One thing that could break the gatekeeper’s trust — and ruin the success of a deal? Dishonesty.

Whatever you do, you don’t want to lie to get past the gatekeeper.

When interacting with a gatekeeper, there is one rule — don’t lie. Align the call with your email cadence content — lead with the truth and be firm but humble in your approach.”

Ultimately, even if a lie might work in the short-term, it’s likely it could backfire in the long-run. If your decision-maker finds out you’ve lied to her employees to reach her, she won’t want to do business with you. If you lied about that, what else might you be lying about?

  1. Have some background knowledge about the gatekeeper

Sales reps need to do their research on the gatekeeper.

If you know who your gatekeeper is ahead of time, check out their LinkedIn. If the gatekeeper is slightly higher up and might be someone who’s used software similar to yours in the past, look up their prior companies and see what tech they’re using.

This might trigger memories of negative experiences in the past with software they weren’t fond of, or positive experiences with your software, that you can bring up on the call and show that you’ve done your research and you’re not there to waste their time.

  1. Don’t try and get past gatekeepers . . . align with them

Finally, when you could call a business and reach a gatekeeper, consider how you might create rapport and build trust with the gatekeeper before you push for the C-level executive.

Gatekeepers are humans and they are charged with protecting the time of their executives. So if you are a time-waster … unfortunately you will not get past the gatekeeper and will have to resort to pushy, sales-y tactics to bypass the gatekeeper.”

However, Gatekeepers can be extremely valuable if you win them and align with them as opposed to “getting around” or “bypassing” them. This is one area where a modern seller can differentiate from a legacy seller.

That’s all well and good. But how do you align with the gatekeeper? which will be our next article.

The views given herein are solely for information purposes; they are guidelines and suggestions ONLY.

 Robert Gonye is a business growth expert and Influencer. He writes in his personal capacity. Comments and views: [email protected]; [email protected]_gonyea

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