Wouldn’t the life of a sales person be easier if there were no gatekeepers? They are one of the most common challenges that sales people face. Whether you look at gatekeepers as a challenge or a source of dread, their role is firmly established as a crucial part of the sales process.
The gatekeeper is the person who frequently communicates with decision makers. They may be a receptionist or a personal assistant, and part of their role is to manage / protect the decision makers time. Requests outside of that remit are often closely scrutinised or flatly denied. They aren’t bad people, they are not the enemy, they are just doing their job and they can be the sales persons best ally in the success or failure of the sales pitch.
Understanding this will help you create the right mindset to bring the gatekeeper round to your way of thinking and work with you rather than against you. But how can you make this happen?
Here are our top tips on getting past the gatekeeper
Preparation is key
Don’t script, prepare. Scripts rarely work and come across as mechanical especially in interactions with a gatekeeper. The best approach is to prepare your interaction with the gatekeeper. Humanise your approach and talk with this person on a one-to-one basis. Engage with them and work to build their trust in you. Practise your approach before hand. Think about how you will handle objections or difficult responses, and the type of questions / approach you want to go with and why.
Control the conversation
Think about the tone of your voice and the phrases and words that you will turn to. Speak in a confident way, using a slow, calm tone, articulate clearly and don’t divulge more than you have to. The first few opening seconds of conversation with the gatekeeper are crucial to setting the scene and influence whether the gatekeeper will allow you access to the decision maker. Don’t pitch the gatekeeper at all. Firstly it is a waste of time and secondly (and more importantly) it will irritate them and they won’t help you.
Think about your behaviours
If you’re nervous or anxious in the call you will transfer these feelings to your voice, your behaviour and choice of words. All these aspects will have an impact on how the gatekeeper will perceive you and how they perceive your request for information or the opportunity for an appointment. Take deep breaths to calm yourself down. When the gatekeeper answers, greet them with a smile and some confident energy.
Need more help with getting past the gatekeeper?
Our programme Getting Past the Gatekeeper might be of interest if you want to adapt thinking and behaviours to respond to the challenges and objections you face in getting past a virtual or face-to-face sales gatekeeper.