A bane of our life as telemarketers isn’t it? Getting past the gatekeeper.

And yet it is an occupational hazard, so don’t worry about it. Just get over yourself and treat it as a part of the game. Remember when you played Monopoly as a child? “Go to jail, do not pass go.” Things are there to test us. Also, if you were a senior manager or director, you’d also ensure that all unsolicited sales calls were filtered wouldn’t you? So remember that Sarah, or Helen, or Paul are only doing their job. They’ve been asked to screen all calls.

Getting past the gatekeeper is a part of the game for telephone sales teams

Given that they the gatekeeper holds the position of power, it makes sense therefore to try and befriend them, if they try and prevent you getting through. Use words like advise, suggest and recommend. You’ll find humans respond well to being asked to help (in any walk of life.)

  • “I appreciate she’s busy, what would you suggest  is the best way of getting some information to her?”
  • “Perhaps you could advise me. What’s the best time to call him?”

The P.A. may suggest e-mail or even post. Take the details where possible. Having alternative ways of contacting them is always useful. Use e-mail if they suggest it. Sometimes they’ll ask you to send them (i.e. the P.A) the e-mail “and I’ll pass it on.” But at least that way you can work out the decision-maker’s e-mail address too.

Or post. Sending literature may be a viable alternative. Or a fax.

And consider : if the gatekeeper won’t help with any of that, maybe the person you’re aiming for isn’t the correct decision-maker. So politely challenge this.

“OK, I understand that they won’t take sales calls, but perhaps there is someone else I could talk to in the first instance about training then. Who would that be?” Even someone more junior can often give you enough background information to make your sales call effective in the sense that you learn enough. It is so, so easy to pursue a decision-maker many times, only to find out when you do finally speak to them, that they have no application for your services anyway! Believe me, I know, I’ve done it!!

Keep your conversation with the gatekeeper light and friendly always. Don’t let any irritation show. Because if they are ‘evil’, and on a power trip  – you don’t want to give them the satisfaction do you?!

You can still be assertive though and let them know that you’ll call back. “OK, I understand that he’s too busy to take my call today, but don’t worry, I’ll call him again later in the week.” After all you’re not going to give up just because they’re putting some obstacles in the way are you?

Finally, be mindful of the times of day you call. I learnt a lot from one guy Michael who was a top performer in a telesales team I used to manage years ago. If he couldn’t get through to a decision-maker, he would often call out of hours. A call before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. or at lunchtime will often get you through.

This is one of many topics we cover on our 2 day telesales and telemarketing training courses. To Market  runs training courses either in-house on site, or alternatively open courses at venues across the Midlands. Over the last few months, we’ve trained people in Birmingham, Solihull, Lichfield, Tamworth, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Northampton, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Wellingborough, Corby, Kettering, Rugby, Coventry and Daventry. For more details, call us on 01858 461148 or e-mail us directly on info@tomarket.co.uk