Believe it or not, gatekeepers are just as important, or if not more important than the decision maker.
One of the biggest challenges sales people face is how to get past the gatekeeper to be able to talk to the decision maker. Half of the problem is the fact that many people have given the person at the end of the phone a horrible nickname – The Gatekeeper. If you take anything away from this article, anything at all, then remember this; The Gatekeeper is simply, a person. They are a human being. A human being like all of us whom likes to have a real conversation, who wants to be liked, who wants to be respected. Once you realise this, you will be well on your way towards sales success.
The mistakes that many people make when making sales calls is that they do not invest any time on the person picking up the phone. This then loses any chance of developing any form of long term business relationship with the gatekeeper and lose all chances of EVER being put through to the decision maker.
You see, the gatekeeper has been entrusted to stop you getting through. If they were to put a dodgy sales call through to the decision maker, guess who is going to get punished; yes, that’s right! The gatekeeper! But with this authority comes great power! If you do not respect this authority and try to undermine the authority you will not get anywhere fast.
The positive note to a gatekeeper is this; if you can sell to the gatekeeper, and win them over, you can have someone on the inside making the sale on your behalf. Let’s take a step back and think about McDonalds for a moment. If you have kids, you will know that you cannot walk past a McDonalds without a child recognising the big ‘M’ and shouting: “Please can we have a McDonalds?!” Why is this? Because McDonalds have sold to your child, not to you, who is the primary decision maker. Their brand is so strong, and the introduction of the Happy Meal has helped children around the globe want and crave a burger pretty much all day and every day. McDonalds have won your kids over, but they aren’t the primary decision maker in your family. And yet, once your kid wants a Happy Meal, you feel obliged to get them one. And whilst you are there, you get yourself a meal too. Get the gatekeeper to fall in love with you, and what you are selling, and you will be on to a winner all day every day.
So, what can you do to get the Gatekeeper on side?
Respect – As we mentioned earlier. All the gatekeeper wants is respect. They have been entrusted with a job, so respect that job. Do not be degrading, and do not look down on them. Sure, they may not be the right person to speak to right now, but they hold the keys.
Be Grateful – If the gatekeeper puts you through, say thank you. If a gatekeeper gives you an email address, say thank you. If a gatekeeper advices you on a better time to call, say thank you. Manners cost nothing. But can earn you the Earth.
Give a Gift – If your gatekeeper helps you make the sale in any way or offers you the chance of a sale; send a gift. The gift does not have to be massive. It can be a bunch of flowers, a card, a CD, whatever it is, send it. The next time you call, they will be sure to give you all of the information you need.
Leave a message – if your gatekeeper asks if you would like to leave a message, do so! This underlines the need to respect the gatekeeper. You leaving a message allows the gatekeeper to do their job. It also proves to them that you trust them, and you trust they integrity and performance. This goes a long way when it comes to developing a solid business relationship.
Insider Treatment – treat the gatekeeper exactly like you would the decision maker. The gatekeeper is a part of the business you are trying to sell and has a bigger influence on matters than you may realize. Let’s look at this scenario. Let’s pretend you call up Leicester Telecom and are rude, arrogant and abrasive with the gatekeeper. What happens when your gatekeeper and prospect meet for coffee at break time?
“I had someone call up from Leicester Telecom earlier. My word, he was awful. Wouldn’t let me talk, wouldn’t listen to me and was genuinely horrible! I hope you never do business with them!”
Or let’s look at it the other way around:
“Had a phone call earlier from Max at Leicester Telecom. He sounded really nice to be fair. Remember how you told me we keep wasting money on those faults in the system? Well he mentioned that he could save us $X per month! Is it worth me getting in touch with him?”
Next time you are making a sales call and are faced with the person at the other end of the phone, remember these tips. Do not ever rush that initial conversation or think of the gatekeeper as a waste of your time. The gatekeeper can be your key to getting the sale you have been looking for.
Paragon Sales Solutions are Leicester’s leading sales consultants, offering:
– Sales Contracts
– Sales Training
– Social Media Management
– B2B Telesales / Telemarketing
We cater for any size business, and what makes us stand out is that we truly care. Our services can be catered for your business and our sales professionals will work tirelessly to ensure your sales targets are met. Be sure to visit our website for more details on how our sales solutions can help your business.