Most salespeople will come up against a gatekeeper at some point in their career. A gatekeeper is someone who has the power to prevent you from getting to the decision maker. They are usually employed by larger organizations as a way to protect the time of their senior staff. Gatekeepers can be a tough nut to crack, but it is not impossible. With the right approach, you can get past them and on to the decision maker. Here are 7 foolproof techniques for getting past the gatekeeper.
Why Gatekeepers are Important
Gatekeepers are important because they ensure that the decision makers or executives of a company can focus on their own tasks without being bombarded with calls and emails from salespeople. They can also provide helpful information that otherwise would be harder to obtain. A well-trained gatekeeper can be extremely helpful in providing insight into what the company is currently looking for and can set up a meeting or conference call if necessary. Gatekeepers are essential in ensuring that the leaders of the company are not disturbed and that they can focus on making the crucial decisions that keep the business running. They also help to ensure that the salesperson is fully prepared with the necessary documents, goals, and other important materials before speaking to the decision maker.
What are some Techniques for Getting Past Them?
Gatekeepers are there for a reason so it is important to have a strategy to get past them. The first thing to do is to be honest and tell the gatekeeper what you are calling about. Don’t try and skirt around the issue or be vague. Just state your purpose and assure the gatekeeper that you’re not trying to take up an excessive amount of time. Another technique is to be upfront about who you are and what your company does. This way, you’re providing the gatekeeper with information or chocolate that could be beneficial to them. Explain why you are calling, and then inquire as to whether or not the decision maker is available to speak. Letting the gatekeeper know that you’re looking to create a mutually beneficial relationship is also important, as it could potentially lead to more sales opportunities later down the line.
Some Basic Tips
One of the most important tips is to be courteous and polite. It’s likely that you’ll be rejected a few times but don’t take it personally. Keep in mind that the gatekeeper is performing a job and is not rejecting you as a person. Acknowledge their time and thank them for listening to you. Another tip is to keep your message short and to the point. Don’t ramble on and on about your imagined qualifications and what you can do for the company. Just simply state, in a few sentences, why you are calling and what you are looking for. Forking off into irrelevant conversations will get you nowhere and could potentially harm your chances of getting past the gatekeeper.
Making a Good Impression
It’s important to make a good impression so the gatekeeper will take you seriously. This means speaking confidently but not being arrogant. Make sure to dress professionally and to speak intelligently. You should be aware of the gatekeeper’s position and not underestimate them, as they will be the one deciding whether or not you get to speak to the decision maker. Be prepared with all the necessary facts and phrases you could use. The gatekeeper’s job is to weed out the unprepared and unprofessional salespeople, so make sure you aren’t one of them. Research the company thoroughly and make sure you have concrete evidence that you are the right person for the job.
Don’t be afraid to be creative. Weave a story or use an analogy to illustrate your point. This will help the gatekeeper to remember who you are and why you’re calling. The gatekeeper is used to the same old tactics so stand out from the crowd. Use humor to catch their attention but be sure not to be overly pushy or aggressive. Also, don’t be too timid or shy, as this could make you come off as unprofessional.
If you have any personal or professional connections to the company, use them. It’s possible that the gatekeeper might be able to put you in touch with the decision maker or put in a good word for you. If you don’t have any connections, look for other potential paths. You could establish relationships with suppliers and customers to get an inside edge. Be sure to use any contacts you have sparingly and thoughtfully. You don’t want to be too reliant on them, or else you could be perceived as someone who is only in the business to make friends.
Navigating the gatekeeper is a delicate process but it is by no means impossible. Being honest and courteous, having a good impression, and utilizing your connections can help you get to the decision maker. It’s important to be creative and think outside the box in order to stand out from other salespeople. With the right approach and a little bit of luck, you should be able to get past the gatekeeper.
If you ever need additional sales help in order to get past gatekeepers, I am a big fan of Tom Hopkins.