Last week I posted a video on how to handle early objections when the business owner is just trying to blow you off: Today I got a follow up question: “how do you get past the gatekeeper?” Many times a junior employee will tell you something similar to these: “The owner wouldn’t be interested” or “I will take your card and have the owner call you if he is interested.” Here is how I handle these situations:
I try to use a lot of confidence, bordering on condescension, to show this person he or she may not tell me what I can and cannot do even though I do appreciate he or she has a job to do. This one is really, really hard to explain in a blog post or a monologue video, but I will do my best by sharing the dialog below which might be an example of how the conversation would go.
Me: Opening …. “Who are you using for your processing?”
Employee: “I don’t know; the owner handles that.”
Me: “O.K. What is his name?”
Employee: “Bob, but he wouldn’t be interested.”
Me: “O.K. What did you say your name is?”
Me: “And you say you don’t handle the credit card processing or have anything to do with that decision, right? I would have to talk to Bob?”
Employee: “Yes, but you can just leave your card with me. I will have him call you if he is interested.”
Me: “No, that’s O.K. If he is the one that handles this, I would rather swing back by when he is here. Thanks for your time though, Susan, have a great day!”
Then I come back two or three days later. If someone else meets me, I just say, “Hey, is Bob in?” If the same employee meets me, I say, “Hey Susan, how are you doing today?” (Response) “Great, is Bob in?” This concept is difficult to get across because 90% of the pitch is about confidence and seeming really important. You really have to take command in these situations. The interaction also depends on the employee.
I would use the lines above for a younger employee, but if let’s say a 40 year old woman is at the counter feeding me these same lines, this might be my response, “Susan, I really appreciate your time today. I know you are doing your job, and you obviously know Bob a lot better than I do. But my job is to talk to small business owners. I have dozens of great references out here, and I am confident that Bob and I would have a productive conversation. Since today is not convenient, I will just swing by the next time I am in the area. Thanks again for your time; I hope you have a great day.” Either way I am still going to be very confident and almost a little condescending. I am a boss myself and have had people working for me for years, so I sincerely feel a little put off when a part time burger flipper tells me what I can and cannot do. I guess those feelings come out in my pitch a little! LOL I will say this pitch usually works for whatever reason.
One other thing – obviously this scenario is a worst case since my goal is to make the client like me rather than to respect me. “Like” is always the first step in the sales process. But if I can’t get a person to like me, I can at least get that person to respect me.
Hope that helps!