As a sales person you probably know that getting past the gatekeeper can be the hardest part of prospecting.
Often times a receptionist or assistant is well versed in dealing with a sales person calling. They take and filter the calls everyday.
And believe me, they would much rather be spending their time on more mission critical initiatives.
And what’s great is that this skill is something that can be used with anyone you meet. The basis of it is to focus on understanding and connecting with someone, gatekeeper or not.
What A Gatekeeper Is Not
Gatekeepers are not these insanely mean people who’s only job is to keep sales people from talking to Presidents and CEOs.
They do not hate you. But they also do not want to pass every sales person who calls to their boss.
Their job is not to help you out. And their job is not to make you happy.
It would be a wonderful world for sales professionals if that was the job description of a gatekeeper. But it’s not so get over it.
What A Gatekeeper Is
They are often hard working people who very much enjoy their job and take it very seriously.
They know that if they pass a sales person to their boss every time one calls they likely wouldn’t have a job for very long because they’d be wasting a lot of their boss’s time.
When I first started in the corporate sales world as an Administrative Assistant I knew first hand what it was like to be a gatekeeper. I acted as one for over 8 inside and outside sales people.
And believe me when I say it; gatekeepers often have less time to waste talking to a sales person then their boss does. And many times, they have even less interest.
Their job is to make their boss more efficient, not frivolously waste his/her time.
The Secret To Understanding And Connecting With Gatekeepers
Is this what you were looking for when you started reading this post? Well I hope you read the above because it’s important to know before reading the below.
Respect the fact that their job is to make their boss(es) more efficient. There is no reason for them to pass you through if you do not show them a high level of respect.
They may not be able to say yes to your product offering, but they can surely say no at the most basic level.
Respect that they have a job to do and that they do it very well.
If you can not provide value to their boss or company why in the world would they give you a referral to their boss??
Every time you call you should have a pitch ready to explain your value proposition and how it will benefit them.
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Thank them for their time. Whether they pass you through or not. Because if you don’t then the next time you call will likely not go any better.
Be appreciative, be thankful, be nice.
One of the easiest way to be successful in sales and prospecting is to be persistent Did you know that the average sales person will stop after 2 calls? But it takes an average of 7-8 calls before any real connection is made?
Don’t give up!
I remember once I had called and emailed over 30 times to a prospect. I had yet to hear no from them so there was no reason for me to stop. In the end it wasn’t the right time for him to use our product, but he did offer me a job on his sales team.
There is something to be said for any professional when you are persistent.
This is the most important way to connect with a gatekeeper. Be honest.
I’m so honest I often tell them I am a sales person.
NEVER NEVER EVER LIE!
Integrity is the most important characteristic to being a sales pro. Anyone who begs to argue with that can leave their comment below. Without integrity you will never be successful.
How have you connected with a gatekeeper in order to get them to put you through? Be sure to comment below and let me know your thoughts.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net