I have written tips on getting past the gatekeeper before on this site but it was one of the top topics for a recent course in Derby for a team of field based sales engineers. They wanted help dealing with the old enemy the gatekeeper! Well here are some thoughts, hopefully to change your thinking ……
As anyone doing an outbound telephone based job knows : the gatekeepers stand between you and unbound glory! Telemarketing and Telesales jobs would be so much easier if only the receptionists, PAs etc would put us through to the decision-maker.
It is an occupational hazard and therefore you have little choice but simply to get on with it! There are some things you can do that will help you achieve more though.
Respect the imbalance of power
Most of the time it is easy to consider the receptionist who asks you lots of questions as the devil incarnate. They will ask you questions such as ;
- What’s the call about ?
- Has he/she spoken to you before ?
- Is this a sales call ?
- Who is calling ?
It is easy to think of them as an adversary, someone you have to beat to get to where you want to get to in the call : someone you have to trick to get past. But it is best to avoid this thinking, The reason is that in this relationship, they hold the balance of power. It may be tough to admit, but they do! You must respect the fact that they hold all the cards, and therefore they can decide whether they want to put your through. So clearly some appropriate thinking needs to take place here.
The gatekeeper as your friend
Essentially you need to work towards creating a positive relationship with them. You are likely to get far more from them if they feel well disposed towards you. It is important to remember that they’re just doing their job. They are asked and expected to filter out unsolicited calls. So it is important to respect this. In the same way that your manager doesn’t want to receive lots of calls, it is the same with the person you’re trying to get through to. If you accept this fact, you will be more likely to treat them respectfully.
So contrary to them being an obstacle, see them as someone who can help you. You will often be surprised! If the person you are trying to reach is notoriously difficult, you can always ask the receptionist or PA when the best time is to get hold of them. Remember to use words like advise, help, suggest. People naturally like helping, and so you can ask them when they suggest you should call next. Of course even if you think that the decision maker is avoiding taking the call, you can always give them the benefit of the doubt by saying you appreciate that they’re busy. Be prepared to ask their colleagues for some help or advice too.
There will be other posts in the coming weeks on getting past the gatekeeper. Nevertheless if you want to help develop the skills of your team, whether it is telesales, telemarketing or field sales, then we can help. Contact us on 01858 461148 or via e-mail email@example.com.