How to Get Past the Gatekeeper?
by Mark Hunter
We’ve all been there. You make the call and boom, you’re blocked by the gatekeeper. They won’t let you get to the person you want to speak with.
First off, remember that the gatekeeper is only doing their joy by guarding the gate. That's what they're supposed to do. They’ll let you pass but only if they feel that you are worthy. To understand how to get past them, you must put them in one of these two broad categories:
The first category is the admin / receptionist / security desk / or any other person who is responsible for stopping phone calls, unless they’re very important. The second category is the administrator who controls the schedules / sets the flow and often, actually runs the department you’re calling.
Video: How Do I Get Past the Gatekeeper:
You handle each one totally different, but it's determined quickly which category they fall into. The secretary / receptionist rushes through the call, while the admin who runs the place is more engaging. In a perfect world, when you call, your objective is to have a name to ask for, not a position. There's no harm in trying if you don’t know the name, but know that it will put you behind. Thankfully, getting a person's name is becoming easier and easier with the web nowadays. I’ll deal with that in an upcoming blog post. Regardless, it's still important for you to show them respect and understand they’re just doing their job. This is why I don’t view them as a gatekeeper but rather as a door opener. When asked the reason for your call, don't smoke it or fake it. Be upfront and honest. Integrity is a must!!
State: I’m looking to discuss __________, or I was speaking with ___________ and thought it would be good for me to talk to __________ , or there have been quite a few changes with ____________ and I wanted to make sure _____ is up to date on them.
What you shouldn't say is: I’m looking for whoever buys ________. If you say that, you're getting yourself a ticket straight to the purchasing department. If they say they’re not available, ask when might be a good time for you to call back. If they say the person is unavailable, then ask if they might know the answer to _____ and ask them one of the questions you would have asked the decision maker if you had been able to speak with them. I like this approach, because it allows the gatekeeper to begin seeing you as having value. Keep in mind that your goal is to use the gatekeeper as the door opener. Treat them in the same way that you would the decision maker if you were talking with them.
When the gatekeeper / door opener does connect you, say “just in case we get disconnected, what’s his/her extension?" If they are blocking you at all points, here are a few techniques to try:
-Ask for sales. It's amazing how they always answer the phone!
-Call before 8 AM or after 5 PM
-Call a different office location
-Call a number just a few digits off from the main number
-Call Friday afternoon / over lunch
-Always call a different day / time and record it.
-Change up your phone numbers
When you have the gatekeeper’s name, use their name when you get someone else. For instance, you say: “This isn’t Barb, is it? Hi _________ great to meet you, I’m looking for _______ ." When doing that, it’s amazing how the “guest answerer” starts viewing you as somebody they should know. From then on, they will forgo the normal gatekeeper response and connect you. Don’t stop just because you’re getting blocked. Remember the same thing is happening to your competitor and chances are, they are not being as diligent as you are.
Read full blog post on my website.
Copyright 2019, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results