The question is not how many sales calls you are able to make on one day. The question is, how smart are your calls and how do you pass the gatekeeper? Before you start to sell your product, it is important to reach the right person and get through the secretary. Your job is to pitch the idea to the decision maker but the gatekeeper’s job is to minimize the number of sales calls which reach the manager. Here are five tips which help you to succeed.
1. The gatekeeper is your friend
It would simply be wrong to see the gatekeeper as somebody who wants to harm you. The gatekeeper’s job is to minimize distractions for the decision maker which means that unnecessary calls should be avoided. Try to understand the gatekeeper’s job and find out how you can pass him. In case that your product is useful for the manager and if you can convince the gatekeeper, your chances to close the deal are much higher. The gatekeeper knows the decision maker probably better than anybody else in the company and it is your chance to get to know the decision maker’s background prior to the call. Find out if he is the right person you need to talk to. If you treat the gatekeeper with respect, he will help you to reach your goals.
2. Don’t hurry
The gatekeeper is no forwarding center – he is rather the opposite. Hence, it does not make sense to push him to forward your call right now. You should rather try to get more information about the decision maker’s preferences. Arrange another date for a follow-up call with the gatekeeper and ask at which day of the week you could best contact the decision maker. If you are trying to press hard, there is no chance that you ever make it to the manager. Stay friendly and take your time to establish a relationship.
3. Don’t let the gatekeeper drop
After the first two calls with the gatekeeper, you should try to get to the decision maker. Make sure to arrange a good time and date for the appointment (your gatekeeper-friend will help you). That’s your chance to pitch to the right person! However, be aware that you should not forget about the gatekeeper. He was the reason why you are now able to talk to the decision maker and he will decide about the next calls as well. Therefore, you should stay in contact with the gatekeeper and continue to work on your relationship.
4. Build a relationship to the decision maker
The first two points are also true for the decision maker. He is your friend and does not want to be hurried. Plan sufficient time to understand his situation and make sure to position your product accordingly. Find out how you can convince the whole company to buy your product and work together on the implementation. Don’t forget to arrange follow-up calls and make sure to be nice to the decision maker as well as to the gatekeeper. Both parties work together daily and should be happy to hear your voice again.
5. Be smart if you can’t pass the gatekeeper
In case that you have not been able to pass the gatekeeper after the first calls, you should estimate your chances of success in the next calls. The more often you call, the more annoyed will the gatekeeper become. At some point, you need to search for other ways to reach the decision maker. Try to call in the very morning or in the evening when the gatekeeper maybe is not yet in the office and your chances to directly reach the manager are higher. You could also try to go through another gatekeeper or to choose another decision maker if your current contact person cannot be convinced for a longer time. Sometimes, it is necessary to focus on other leads instead of wasting too much time with one gatekeeper. But don’t forget, that the gatekeeper just wants to have a great day. His job is not to eliminate your plans. He simply has to select the right candidates for his boss.
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