Tips For Getting Past The Gatekeeper

Tips for getting past the gatekeeperThe first person that a representative speaks with in a sales call may be one of the most difficult individuals to sell, as this person controls whether the salesperson will be able to get in touch with a potential buyer.

A sales management team needs to teach their representatives how to bypass this gatekeeper by selling them on the purchase through treating this individual like they are the client who is getting the pitch.

It is important for representatives to realize that the premise of getting past the gatekeeper is a flawed notion, as this may degrade the role of this individual and downplay their importance in the entire process, according to Heather Kivett, President of Resolution Systems, Inc., a sales training and consulting firm.

Representatives should try and leverage the opportunity with the gatekeeper instead of merely trying to bypass this individual. They need to figure out ways to make their pitch without sounding like they are trying to sell them on anything specific.

“You say and do things that are meaningful and relevant to them because they are so used to tons of salespeople every week trying to get past them,” said Kivett. “That creates a mindset of, “I’m a low person on the totem pole and I’m not relevant”. Cognitively, that puts salespeople automatically in a bad light.”

Salespeople need to treat them in a professional manner and address them with respect to their intelligence in order to gain a partnership. Even if the amount of time that is granted to the representative is limited, it is possible to get bounced into the account, said the executive.

These gatekeepers know more than many salespeople are willing to give them credit for, and representatives would be intelligent to cater their conversation to this fact. People like to be respected for what they know, and granting this to the individual may help to sustain the relationship, according to Kivett.

“What would be meaningful and relevant to a gatekeeper?” said the executive. “Someone who is calling with something of substance – not a product pitch or fake appointment.”

Representatives should try to present themselves in a different manner by telling who they work with that the person may already know or telling the gatekeeper that they have some documentation that they want to pass on, which can either be research or a whitepaper.

“If it’s industry specific and research based they typically won’t deny their higher-ups that information,” said Kivett. “It may be a multi step process where you have to call back or followup, or passed to their secretary.”

It is important for representatives to take down the necessary information about the individual who they are speaking to and send them a followup note to help cement the relationship. This type of correspondence helps when a salesperson calls the company back, as they can address the gatekeeper by name and reference the previous conversation that occurred, according to the executive.

Letting the gatekeeper know that you spoke to them previously and that they were extremely helpful can be a way that a representative can stand out. Thanking the individual is of the utmost importance as well, as being polite can’t hurt someones cause.

“Your goal is not to sell to the gatekeeper,” said Kivett. “Leverage that conversation to get bounced into the account. That is the objective.”

Leveraging the conversation can lead to more correspondence with the company, and hopefully an eventual talk with someone who has purchasing power.