Getting Past The Gatekeeper
The key to getting past the gatekeeper when cold calling potential clients is practice and confidence.
Do you have the confidence to call a perfect stranger and make it sound like a personal call?
Can you stay positive and sound confident?
Do you know that any hint of uncertainty or apology will kill you?
Getting Past The Gatekeeper Scripts
There are a few things that you can do to improve your chance of getting past the gatekeeper and reaching the person you really want to talk to.
- Use his or her first name only and your full name, but no company name. If you say your company name, it makes it obvious that he doesn’t know you.
- Follow up on previously sent information or a message. Leaving a message on the voice mail will never result in a return call, but it will give you the ability to honestly say that you are following up on a previous discussion.
Gatekeeper: “Can I tell him what this is regarding?”
YOU: “I’m following up on a prior email/message/conversation with Paul.”
- Sometimes the best thing to do is send a mailing piece, then call so you can answer this question honestly.
Gatekeeper: “Is he expecting your call??”
YOU: “I sent him some information and am checking in to see what he wants to do next.”
YOU: “He should be, based on the info I gave him.”
- If you keep calling and continue to get the runaround and the “he’s not available” line, then try this:
YOU: “Listen, I’ve called a million times and am sorry to be driving you crazy. How does Paul decide who he talks to?”
- Maybe you can cut a deal with the gatekeeper. “If I send some information to you, would you walk it in and hand it to Paul? If you promise you’ll do it, I promise you will only get one more unsolicited call from me. My last call will be to find out whether he’s willing to talk.”
- This is my favorite technique to get through to the gatekeeper. There are no tricks or games here.
YOU: “Hi! My name is Deb. I am a sales rep who would like to schedule an appointment with Mr.________. Could you please help me?”
Then just shut up and wait.
Asking for help and using silence is a great, great way to force her to make a decision. You need to have the confidence to wait.
If you speak first, you lose. If you hold your silence, the gatekeeper may become afraid that if you’re really somebody that will help them, she doesn’t want to be the one who turned you away.
Tips For Getting Past Gatekeepers
- Know the decision maker’s name
- Know what benefit you have to offer the decision maker
- Make it personal
- Never sell to the gatekeeper
- Be confident
- Take ownership of the next contact
Remember to treat the gatekeeper the way you would like to be treated!
After all she or he is just doing the job!
I read somewhere that most corporate decision makers receive up to 150 unsolicited calls per week. Actually, based on the number I get in my home office, that seems to be a low ball figure!
Please comment below with your “gate keeper” techniques!
That kinds of techniques have you used to get past the gatekeeper when making cold calls?