Inside sales reps agree that “getting past the gatekeeper” is a significant hurdle in their path to converting a lead into an appointment with a decision-maker.
Get your head on straight.
Just like any other pursuit in life, most of the game is mental. Once you have your entire mindset tuned to the task at hand, you’re able to conquer any challenge set before you. In the gatekeeper juking gauntlet, the game is part mental. Put yourself in the gatekeeper’s shoes and be sure you’re coming across the right way.
View gatekeepers not as enemies, but as your allies.
Better yet, treat them like gold. This is the advice of EksAyn Anderson, in his book Key to the Gate, and many other sales professionals agree. Doing the opposite, being rude or quick with the gatekeeper, EksAyn explains, is a kiss of death.
Don’t underestimate the gatekeeper’s knowledge of their org chart.
The C-Level EA, I’d argue, is one of the most knowledgeable people at the entire company, but expecting them to just hand you information without first establishing trust is damn-near futile.
Consider sharing something you learned while researching their organization or about the executive you’re trying to reach. Show the EA you understand what is important to them and their company.
You might be talking to a decision-maker disguised as a gatekeeper.
The ultimate gotcha in dealing with gatekeepers is when you think you have a gatekeeper but it’s really a decision-maker pretending to be the receptionist. Simply be aware that this might occasionally be the case and be prepared to change your pitch on the fly should a decision-maker revel himself or herself at some point during the call.
If all else fails…
Rather than climb the mountain, have you tried going around it?
In getting to a decision-maker within your targeted organization, you may consider trying some alternative courses of action. The main office phone number is guarded and also inundated with callers wishing to also pitch their product or service. Don’t get lost in the crowd! Here are some “audibles” you may try when faced with a formidable gatekeeper:
- Go over: If you know the name of a decision-maker at your target organization, try and reach them directly. You can leverage your personal network, social media, or public records to attain their contact info.
- Go under: If you can’t get past gatekeepers or go over their heads, continue building allies at the organization. Even if your ally is below the decision-maker, a positive impression on them can be all you need to get to the DM.
- Go social: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are three must-try social sites for Inside Sales Reps seeking a path around the gatekeeper. If you have one of these contact methods, use it.
Persistence pays off
When you’re down, don’t count yourself out. Cheryl Conner of Forbes explains about her experiences with one of the greatest gatekeeper masters, EksAyn Anderson, “He then followed up politely with emails, more emails, more calls, and was eventually able to get directly to me.”
Persistence separated from politeness is dead fruit on the vine. Conner applauds the consistent politeness of Anderson in addition to recognizing his persistence.
If you recognize your sales team struggling with gatekeepers, the problem may be easily solved with sales training or another improvement in methodology or strategy.
Contact Invenio for more information about how your sales process can more effectively utilize gatekeepers rather than see them as the enemy or mere obstacles.