Gatekeepers can be a real pain in the neck. However, these tips will help you bypass them to reach your sales targets.
Any salesperson will probably tell you how dreadful they feel when dealing with gatekeepers to close sales deals. Gatekeepers might not be the decision makers within the organization, but they are instrumental in connecting you with the ones who are. This is why it is crucial and unavoidable that you interact with them during your sales process.
So you may be asking yourself, who or what is a gatekeeper?
A gatekeeper by definition is a person who does not allow other people to have access to specific opportunities and resources. In this context, gatekeepers are people who prevent the higher-ups and who’s-who of the organization from having to deal with unnecessary or unwanted meetings, calls, and interactions. Think of them as security personnel at the entrance of any building screening people before allowing them to come in.
Gatekeepers within an organization are the first point of contact before you can access the person you want to see. They typically include office managers, secretaries, personal assistants, or receptionists. They decide what or who is important enough to get through to the boss.
Ultimately, gatekeepers can determine whether you’ll close your sales deals faster or not. Your job is to convince this person that you are important enough to bypass them and get to the decision-maker.
Below are a few tips to get past gatekeepers and close your sales deals faster.
This should be the first thing you keep in mind as you go hunting for sales deals. Treat everyone you encounter in the organization with respect before you even get within the decision-maker’s eye line. This includes phone operators, assistants, receptionists, and anyone else falling in the gatekeeper's category. Be kind to them while letting them know you appreciate their assistance regardless of whether they connect you with their superiors or not. Once you become dismissive, impatient, or rude to them, your chances of losing the sale will go up.
Think of gatekeepers as a resource instead of an obstacle
Gatekeepers can access all the important information you need to close your sales deal faster. This includes your prospect’s schedule, location, contact information, and much more. This is why you should treat gatekeepers as a resource for the information you need instead of a roadblock to your sales success.
How can you do this?
Get to know this person and use the information you find out to your benefit. This means asking important questions such as:
“What are your biggest pain points?”
“Does the organization work with any of my competitors such as X or Y?”
“Do you already have a service or product like what I am selling?”
Such questions will help you develop a relationship with the person while helping you learn more information to prepare for the next conversation with your prospect.
Get straight to the point
Most of the time people will know when you are lying to them. When speaking with a gatekeeper, be direct and clear about your intentions while answering their questions honestly. Acting evasive raises red flags and the person on the other end of the line will not trust you which does little to help you close your sales deals.
Take a personal approach
This method may not be ideal for closing every sale but adding a personal touch can help you bypass gatekeepers on certain occasions. This could include delivering a handwritten note, requesting a face-to-face meeting, or sending the gatekeeper and the prospect some marketing goodies. By going the extra mile, you’ll stand out from other salespeople and gain a competitive advantage.
Act more senior than you actually are
It will be much harder to reach the prospect if the gatekeeper isn’t sure of your seniority level. We all know how nerve-racking cold calls can be, but you still need to carry yourself with an air of authority and confidence that resonates even through the phone.
Explain clearly who you are, the reason for your call, and whom you’d like to speak with, whether it’s in person or on the phone. Make sure to remain respectful during the conversation because there is a thin line between arrogance and confidence. Arrogance could make you lose your sale while confidence will help you get to your prospect.
Use direct contact information
Probably the best way to bypass a gatekeeper is to invest in your contacts. Find ways to get your most important prospects’ direct contact information, be it through networking or working with a B2B data provider. Even though you may be able to reach a receptionist, your chances of closing sales deals faster will be higher if you reach the decision-maker directly.
Try going through another department
Consider that not every prospect or department has a gatekeeper. One example of a helpful department to try is Human Resources since they essentially know everyone in the organization. So if you are looking for your prospect’s contact information but aren’t having any luck, try giving HR a call. You can also call the Sales department and build rapport with other sales reps. Who knows? You could get a referral or a contact out of it.
Though it may seem frustrating, getting past the gatekeeper is not impossible. Remember that they are also simply doing their jobs, just like you. Be professional and polite to develop a relationship with anyone who picks up the phone. The above tips will help you reel them in, reach more prospects, and close sales deals faster.