Gliding past gatekeepers

This article was written by Evorio’s New Business Executive, Claire Swinburne. Claire has a wealth of sales experience and here she shares some of the lessons she’s learned when dealing with gatekeepers.

I have worked in telemarketing, customer service, sales and marketing, and new business development for over 10  years.  During that time I have probably encountered all the objections possible when speaking to or trying to speak to decision makers.

When making sales or telemarketing calls, the first task is to get the receptionist or gatekeeper on your side. They’re not your enemy, they’re just doing their job, which of course includes keeping calls to a minimum and blocking sales calls whether they are of interest or not. So whilst it’s wise to try and connect with the gatekeeper, you will at the same need to be relatively stern. Knowing the gatekeeper will try to block you and that they may not realise your call WILL be of interest to them (well, that’s my mind set) means you will need to push through the barriers the gatekeeper puts up.

Additionally, when you get through to the decision maker it’s so important that your first impression/words give them a hook, a reason for them to continue to listen to you.

 

Overcoming gatekeeper objections

So how does all this work in reality when you have an experienced gatekeeper on the other end of the line? To help answer that question I have put together some practical suggestions for overcoming the barriers and objections you’re likely to encounter:

 

Gatekeepers says:

“Are they expecting your call?”

Ideal response:

“We don’t have a date/time arranged but they know I’ll be calling as we’ve had email contact.”

[This assumes you have sent an introductory email first].

Gatekeepers says:

“They don’t take unsolicited calls.”

Ideal response:

“That’s fine, they know I’m calling to follow up my email If you could check if they’re available, I’m confident they’ll take my call having received my email.”

Gatekeepers says:

“They won’t be interested.”

Ideal response:

“If you could just confirm that with them, I’d like to get their confirmation either way.”

Gatekeepers says:

“Not available.”

Ideal response:

“No problem, perhaps you could help me establish when is the best/most convenient to time to catch them please.”

Gatekeepers says:

“Not available” (repeatedly).

Ideal response:

“As PA/EA, I’m sure you know everything that’s going on that matters, so maybe I could ask if you’re aware of…”

[Relate the question to why you're calling: do they know what product/service the company are using currently or how they deal with the area, when it’s reviewed, who/what they use?  This information could help give you a new contact to call or a new reason why your offering will be of interest].

So, your call has an objective which may require you to be forceful when needed, but otherwise be friendly and engage with the gatekeeper to see how they can help you learn more about the company or the decision maker. And of course, don’t forget to… smile.