Onboarding new members of the sales team is always an eye-opening process, especially when I hear the sales techniques they have been taught that make me cringe, reminding me why the sales profession has such a bad reputation.
An experienced gatekeeper is usually pretty good at screening cold calls and spotting sales professionals who are attempting to reach the decision-maker without an appointment. It is their job to help the decision maker avoid interruptions from the many people who want “just 5 minutes of their time”. However, lots of sales professionals are taught to treat these gatekeepers as adversaries instead of allies.
So, stop trying to push past to the decision maker and remember these 7 tips when speaking to Gatekeepers:
1. Be polite and treat the gatekeeper with respect.
The gatekeeper might seem rude and abrasive, but they are doing their job. Just like you they have a job to do and just because you really really really want to speak to their boss doesn’t mean that they should be spoken to in anything but a professional manner. We are all in business so let’s treat everyone with the same level of professionalism.
2. Leave a detailed message.
The gatekeeper has a direct line of communication with the decision maker so make sure you leave a proper message explaining, simply, why you are calling and why the decision maker would want to talk to you. If you only give the gatekeeper limited information, then that is all they will be able to tell their boss.
3. Be truthful with the gatekeeper.
DO NOT pretend that you know the boss. Do not imply that you have an existing relationship. If you are cold calling, then be honest and confident that the product or service would be of interest to the decision maker and explain this to the gatekeeper. There is nothing worse than being put through to a decision maker after the gatekeeper has introduced you as someone they have an existing relationship with, as it means that the boss’ first impression of you is one of dishonesty. Is that how you want to be perceived?
4. Understand that the gatekeeper can help you.
The gatekeeper usually has a wealth of information about the company they work in, as well as information about the decision maker, by talking to them you will get a feel for the company culture as well as possibly finding out some truly useful information that will help you later. Also, you don’t know who the gatekeeper is, what if they are sat next to the decision maker or are related to the decision maker. Do you really want to treat the CEO’s wife or husband badly before you speak to the CEO themselves!!??!!
5. Have a little respect
I know I have mentioned this already, but a little respect goes a long way. If you spend your day trying to trick, deceive and force your way past gatekeepers, then a day or rejection can be a hell of a gruelling day. You are a business person, so treat the people you speak to with the same respect. Tired of gatekeepers hanging up on you? Imagine a world where gatekeepers don’t have to be on their toes waiting for the next smart-ass sales person try and sneak past them.
6. Be specific.
If you only need 10mins of the decision makers time, then be specific about that with the gatekeeper. If you need more time, then tell them that too. Be upfront about what you want, and you will increase the chances of getting what you need.
7. Take a hint.
If you are calling the same gatekeeper for the hundredth time and dreading them picking up because you know they are going to turn you away, then guess what …….. you are wasting your time as well as theirs. The decision maker may have told the gatekeeper that they don’t want to talk to you, just because you haven’t heard the rejection directly from the CEO doesn’t give you the right to harass the gatekeeper daily with the same tired pitch. Stop wasting your time making a call for no good reason and move on to a prospect that might turn into business.