Gatekeepers are the individuals with the unenviable tasks of filtering phone calls and email messages so the company’s decision maker is not bombarded with sales pitches all day everyday. As a salesperson or wholesale distributor, it is your responsibility to make it past the gatekeeper and get in front of the decision maker. How can it be done? Follow these tips:
Sound like a senior executive.
Gatekeepers are often secretaries, switchboard operators or executive assistants. These individuals are on the phone for hours throughout the day, so they can spot a salesperson from a mile away. But, if you give the impression that you a senior executive, they may not want to ask you too many questions out of the fear of being disrespectful or insulting. Speak confidently, slow and relaxed to give off the “I’m important” vibe so they transfer you right through to the decision maker.
Act like your call is expected.
When you make contact with the gatekeeper, ask to speak with the decision maker by using his first name, for example, “May I please speak to Matt?” Some gatekeepers will immediately transfer your call, assuming that if you are using his first name, you are friendly with him already. But others will ask if he is expecting your call. Obviously, he is probably not expecting you to call, but if you sent information via email prior to the call, use this to your advantage by saying, “Yes, I sent him some information via email and we need to discuss it in further detail today.”
Call off hours.
Gatekeepers are lower level employees that usually work a standard 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job. Decision makers, on the other hand, work all hours of the day to get the job done, so why not call outside of the standard 9-5 hours? If you call earlier in the morning or later in the evening, chances are the decision maker will not be protected by the gatekeeper, since he or she will not be in yet or will have already left for the day. This means your call could get transferred directly to the decision maker instead of being filtered out by the gatekeeper.
Don’t follow a script.
Remember, gatekeepers are by the phone throughout their entire shift in the office, so they undoubtedly receive sales calls all day. If you approach your call with the same scripted speech as every other salesperson, what would make you any different than the rest? Try a new approach by throwing out the script and speaking with personality, humor and respect.
Above all else, be polite.
Trying to get past the gatekeeper can be frustrating, especially when you have left dozens of messages, but the most important thing to remember is you have to be polite. The second you come off as rude or arrogant to the gatekeeper, you will completely blow your chance at ever getting through to the decision maker.
Do you have any tips or tricks you use to get past the gatekeeper? Share your suggestions in the comments below!