You’ve perfected your script, done the research, and practiced your pitch, and now it’s time to make the call. You approach the phone feeling confident, but all your hard work may be for nothing when your call is answered by the gatekeeper.
Every sales rep knows that cold calling can be a difficult task, but it’s an even bigger challenge when you’re not speaking directly to your ideal prospect. Gatekeepers got you down? Here are our top tips on how to successfully get past the gatekeeper and start closing more deals.
Who is the Gatekeeper? Who is the Decision-Maker?
If you’re picturing a large hooded figure with a sword, you may need to think again. In this context, a gatekeeper is any professional assistant, secretary, or office manager fielding phone calls to the decision-maker. Gatekeepers are there to help filter out unwanted calls, and manage the decision-maker’s busy schedule.
The decision-maker usually refers to a C-suite exec or VP. Essentially, this is the person who has the power to make things happen for their company. If you’re pitching your product, you want to make sure you’re speaking with someone who has the authority to engage with your services.
7 Tips for Getting Past the Gatekeeper
#1 Be Respectful
This is sales 101, but a little politeness goes a long way. Remember, the gatekeeper is likely your greatest ally in maintaining contact with your prospect and scheduling future opportunities to make your pitch. Gatekeepers usually work closely with the decision-maker, so their positive opinion carries weight. In a Forbes interview with gatekeeper aficionado EksAyn Anderson, “Anderson recalls one sales prospect, a high-level director, telling him, “I have people call me all day and you are the first one I’ve allowed to come in to show me your product—because you were so nice to my secretary.”
#2 Don’t Pitch to the Gatekeeper
This may seem obvious, but remember that the gatekeeper isn’t the decision-maker. Although they might make small talk with you, don’t launch into your sales pitch—it will only waste their time and yours! Be direct with them and ask to speak to the decision-maker.
#3 Speak to The Decision-Maker’s Colleagues
If gaining direct access to the decision-maker seems to be a tall-order, reassess your tactics and try contacting one of their colleagues. Decision-makers often work with a variety of team members who may be more accessible and willing to take a phone call. You also could try what Bloobirds calls the “sneaky” method, and feign an accidental call to a decision-maker’s colleague and then ask for the decision-maker’s direct contact information.
#4 Try Calling Outside of Business Hours
One of the golden rules of cold calling is to reach out to prospects at unusual hours. You want to catch them at moments of transition when they might have a minute to pick up the phone and chat. To this end, an effective technique is to call your decision-maker outside of usual business hours. Gatekeepers often have more predictable 9-5 schedules, so try to catch the decision-maker at the office early in the morning or staying late after work without the gatekeeper there to field phone calls.
#5 Reach Out Through Social Media
A great way to circumvent the gatekeeper is to reach out to the decision-maker on social media. Nowadays, it’s not too difficult to find professionals on sites like LinkedIn. Instead of cold-calling the office, introduce yourself via direct message first. This way, you have a toe-hold and can schedule a follow-up time to talk with the decision-maker on the phone.
#6 Use Integrity
Be honest with the gatekeeper. Being overly manipulative, disarming, or aggressive, will only solidify a bad impression of you and your product. When speaking to the decision-maker, be up-front with them about the details of your product, and provide insight into how your product will benefit their business.
#7 Be Confident
Confidence is one of the most important qualities in a successful sales rep. Speak with authority and demonstrate to the gatekeeper that you know what you’re talking about. If you exhibit that you’re knowledgeable and passionate about your product, the gatekeeper will be more likely to pass you along to the decision-maker based on your attitude alone.
Develop Your Sales Strategy with Acquirent
Speaking with the gatekeeper doesn’t need to be stressful. At Acquirent we provide businesses with outsourced sales and marketing services tailored to fit your unique needs. Acquirent’s team of enthusiastic and self-motivated professionals will work with you to generate qualified leads based on your specifications.
When you work with Acquirent, we’ll transform your list of qualified leads and make cold calling a piece of cake. Getting past the gatekeeper has never been so easy!