When telephone prospecting, you can sometimes spend up to 50% of your time dealing with gatekeepers. With that being such a large percentage, if you can improve your ability to get around the gatekeeper, you can expect to see an immediate improvement in your results.
Here are a few tips to help you with getting around the gatekeeper when you are telephone prospecting.
Enlist the Gatekeeper’s Help
When you are cold calling, you are trying to get into the account, and the gatekeeper is trying to keep you out. One thing to try is to simply try to get the gatekeeper on your side and more on the side of helping you with what you are trying to do.
It is not to say they will always go in this direction, but you can give this a try by saying something like this:
Hi, I am not real sure who to talk with. Maybe you can point me in the right direction.
Treat the Gatekeeper Like the Target Prospect
When you feel like you hit a wall with a gatekeeper that is clearly blocking you out when you are telephone prospecting, a good tactic is to stop and switch to treating the gatekeeper the way you would if they were the target prospect.
When you reach a target prospect, you may share some sort of elevator pitch and ask some questions, and you can shift to treating the gatekeeper in this way by saying something like:
Actually, let me take a step back and share with you who I am and why I am reaching out.
A gatekeeper will be instructed to keep out all salespeople who are trying to sell something. With that, you want to avoid appearing like you are one of these when telephone prospecting.
One way to do this is to name-drop other people in the organization that you have spoken with so that you look less like an outsider. Here is an example:
I spoke with Mary in accounting last week and now I am trying to connect with the person that oversees Human Resources. Can you point me in the right direction?
Ask Probing Questions
It can be common for gatekeepers to try to get rid of you by using objections like:
We are not interested.
We already use somebody today for that.
We are not making any changes.
When you get one of these, a great way to try to get around this is to ask one of your pre-qualifying questions.
Avoid the Gatekeeper
One of the best ways to get around the gatekeeper is to avoid having to deal with the gatekeeper altogether. The way to do this is either to try to get more direct dial phone numbers for prospects or to perform your telephone prospecting at hours when the gatekeeper might not be answering the phone like early in the morning, around the lunch hour, or after business hours.