Top Ten Tips For Getting Past The Gatekeeper
TIP1: RESEARCH YOUR PROSPECT
Preparation is the key to success, most companies will go through a decision making process which will involve a number of key personnel. Build up a profile of your prospect, look on their website for key personnel, case studies and regional offices. Look on Linkedin for their company's page here you will find additional personal. Begin with the full name of the top person and work down. Find out their direct number if they have one and their email address. If you know the email format firstname.lastname@ then you have everyones address, the quickest way is googling @companysdomain.com.
TIP2: SEND A LETTER
Take the time to write a generic letter of introduction advising the contact you will be calling in the next couple of days to discuss your letter . Email your letter to everyone you think will be involved in the decision making process. Most people are busy in meetings Monday mornings and Friday afternoons, you might like to email your contacts in these hours. Calling your prospect thereafter will be a warm not a cold call. They will be expecting your call and know who and why you will be calling. If your lucky you might get a reply explaining who to contact first, if the reply is from the MD then you will be in position of power when you speak to this person.
TIP 3: GETTING PAST THE GATEKEEPER
If someone believes that you are important, they will treat you differently. Using a relaxed and calm voice, speak slowly and articulately and don't divulge more than is necessary. During the opening seconds of your conversation, if the Gatekeeper senses that you are their senior, they will not risk offending you by probing too deeply.
TIP 4: THE DM IS IN A MEETING!
Use this opportunity to check your facts with them. Ask simple, non-intrusive open questions to try to build up a picture "Do you still have 3 offices? " " Does Mr. White still work there ? " ..... This is a great way to gather any missed information while building up your credibility and rapport with the Gatekeeper.
TIP 5: DON'T SELL TO THE GATEKEEPER
The Gatekeeper has several distinct ‘powers'. One of them is the power to connect you with the right person. However, they do not hold any decision-making powers. When the Gatekeeper asks ‘Can I tell him/her what it's regarding?' - do not try to pitch your product or service to the Gatekeeper. Firstly, it will waste your time. Second, it will irritate them because they will just be waiting for an opportunity to tell you that they cannot help you. No matter how desperate to connect with the DM you are, do not sell to the Gatekeeper.
TIP 6: ENGAGE DON'T EVADE
Don't be awkward, don't try to sneak past the Gatekeeper, the chances are you'll get cut off at the knees. Actively engage with the Gatekeeper. Don't get too personal, don't pry, but you can gently probe. If you can't get through to the DM, engage the Gatekeeper so that they have a positive and friendly attitude towards you when you call again. You're unlikely to become best friends, but building a relationship and a rapport with them will help them want to help you.
TIP 7: EASY DOES IT
If you are nervous, stressed or tense, you will transfer those feelings to your voice, your behaviour and choice of words. All of these will make an impact on how the Gatekeeper perceives you and therefore how they receive your request for access or information. Take some deep slow quiet breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth to put yourself at ease. When the Gatekeeper answers, smile and confidently greet them with energy and ease.
TIP 8: DON'T SCRIPT, PLAN.
Unless you are a particularly good actor, don't use a script on the Gatekeeper. They are likely to hear the scripted tone in your voice. Instead, plan how you will approach them; what approaches you might take depending upon the range of responses that they might make. Plan your responses to key objections but leave yourself room by improvising the dialogue.
TIP 9: WHAT'S YOUR TRANSITIVE VERB?
Do you know that whilst you are speaking to the Gatekeeper, you are consciously or unconsciously employing a transitive verb to do something to them? A transitive verb is, if you don't know, a verb that can be done to someone else such as ‘I CHARM You, I AMUSE You, I PRESS You'. In Oral Communications, verbs are used as tactics to get results from other people. It's essential that you be in control of the tactics that you are playing. Think about what tactics you will play throughout your PLAN.
TIP 10: IS SHE EXPECTING YOUR CALL?
This is largely irrelevant because you want to speak to the DM nonetheless. However, in order to bypass the Gatekeeper, use the DM's first name only. Ask ‘Can I speak to Jenny please?', it sounds like a personal call. Remember your goal is not to inform the Gatekeeper; your goal is to bypass them to get to the DM. Next, they might ask ‘Is she expecting your call?'. Simply and easily reply ‘Yes, its regarding the email , we need to discuss it before close of business today'.
Of course, Marketing is a personal art and what works for one, will not necessarily work for another. These Top Ten Tips should be the starting place for developing your own personal method of bypassing the Gatekeeper, rather than seeing them as cast iron instructions to be rigidly followed.