The Goal with the Gatekeeper – Cold Calling Techniques
Every decision maker in a business wants a good gatekeeper. The gatekeeper has a priority goal of preventing sales professionals from reaching the decision maker. If you sound like a sales rep to the gatekeeper, you won’t get through the gate! In this episode I’ll help you quickly seize the goal of sliding past. […]
Every decision maker in a business wants a good gatekeeper. The gatekeeper has a priority goal of preventing sales professionals from reaching the decision maker. If you sound like a sales rep to the gatekeeper, you won’t get through the gate! In this episode I’ll help you quickly seize the goal of sliding past.
Gatekeepers will make or break your telemarketing success. The goal with the gatekeeper is to through the gate! The approach used to achieve the goal is extremely important. Most sales people seem to think they need to “sell” the gatekeeper. However, using logic and sales techniques is the totally wrong approach. Keep in mind the number one job of the gatekeeper is to keep sales people from reaching the decision maker! None of your professionalism or great sales techniques will help. Your goal should be to get past the gatekeeper as quickly as possible.
Use a bit of confusion to throw off the gatekeeper. Do this by asking questions to which he/she won’t have answers. These should be questions only the decision maker could answer. I use this strategy frequently, especially when I walk into a business, “Hi, my name is James Shepherd. How are you guys doing today? It’s a beautiful day out there [or snowing, etc. I make my little small talk.] Hey, a quick question for you. I’ve got a local business here. I do payment processing. Who do you guys use for credit card processing right now?” Never ask for the decision maker. You’ll get an inevitable “no.” When asked about the credit card processor, the gatekeeper will often respond by saying, “I really don’t know. You would have to talk to Susan.” Thus, you will have achieved two goals. (1) You have the name of the decision maker. (2) Now you can say the shortest line possible as quickly as possible to throw off the gatekeeper.
Your response at this point is pivotal. To convey the proper response in words is difficult; try to use your imagination on this one. The timing of your reply is also vital. AS SOON AS the gatekeeper finishes saying, “You would have to talk to Susan,” you quickly say, “Oh, is she in?” Don’t allow time for the gatekeeper to come up with an excuse as to why Susan is not available. After you ask that quick question, remain silent until the gatekeeper responds. You may get this answer, “Well, yeah, she is in the back.” Then BEFORE the gatekeeper as a chance to continue with the statement that Susan is really busy, you make another very quick statement, “Oh, I’ll wait.” Then is the time for more silence…expectant silence. That is the secret of getting through the gate. Start with a little confusion and then use short, fast responses.
Again I say, don’t try to sell the gatekeeper. Statements such as, “Well, I’ll tell you what, if you go get Susan, I promise she is going to be glad she came out here. I’m going to give her the deal of a lifetime” are useless and stupid. You can’t sell the gatekeeper. The goal is to get past him/her as quickly as possible.
You should practice short, quick rebuttals to gatekeepers’ objections. A favorite technique of mine at consulting and training seminars is allowing listeners to hear me sell on speaker phone. Usually one most interesting aspect to reps is my success rate at getting past the gatekeeper. For me to fail is very rare. The reason for my success is this strategy of short, quick statements or questions followed by silence.
Another common ploy of gatekeepers is to say something to the effect, “Oh, we are not interested in that.” Rather than trying to sell them on what I’m selling, I try to sell them on the legitimacy of me. I might say, “Well, like I said, I’m just a local business owner and just want to introduce myself. What did you say the name of the owner is?” Ask that question very quickly. Sometimes gatekeepers even ask me to repeat the question. Then I respond, “Oh, I’m sorry. The name of the person to whom I should speak; who did you say that was?” If this method doesn’t work for you, that is probably because you aren’t saying it in this particular way. When you are quick, quick, quick with your replies, the gatekeepers can’t keep up with you. Eventually, they will run out of excuses and get the decision maker. Another favorite statement of mine is, “Oh, just grab Susan real quick. I’ll talk to her real quick. Thank you.” Gatekeepers will inevitably reply, “Well, he/she is not available right now.” At that point I insert this quick, short quip, “Oh, I’ll hold.”
Hopefully this will help you seize the goal of sliding past the gatekeeper! I’m planning a new podcast soon. Be listening. Perhaps this subject will be a good role play session to help you get the gist of it.