Inside Sales representatives spend almost 50% of their cold calling efforts trying to evade or bypass gatekeepers, only to end up in the no-call list. Sales reps should understand that this is what gatekeepers are paid to do. They are paid to filter out irrelevant calls that interrupts their manager’s time. Most of them are told to keep cold callers out. A few tactics up your sales reps' sleeve might help them in a way or two.
Here are 7 Tactics that will help your Inside Sales reps in Getting Past the Gatekeeper.
- Treat them like allies.
Gatekeeper is not your enemy. Their job is to screen out people that they think will waste the boss’s time. The best way to get “past” the gatekeeper is simply to get the gatekeeper on your side. Seeing them as an immovable or impenetrable barrier will never get you through them. Develop a relationship - try to befriend them by sounding nice and warm, address them by their name, and most importantly try to “treat them like you want to be treated”
- Do not use a script.
Using a sales script to converse with a gatekeeper is a major turn-off. Unless you are a really good actor, don't use a script. They are likely to hear the scripted tone in your voice. Plan your approaches and responses to key objections, but always leave room for improvisation.
- Look out for subtle cues on your decision-maker. Gatekeeper is a wealth of knowledge.
Listen for subtle cues they give away on the decision maker, depending on how much responsibility the gatekeeper has. The more they try to screen the more responsibility your decision maker holds. Remember that gatekeepers know a great deal of important information about your decision maker and the company that your reps could use. Ask simple,non-intrusive questions to build a picture of both the Gatekeeper and the Decision-Maker.
- Engage with the gatekeeper, don’t try to evade
Do not try to sneak past the gatekeeper, chances are you’ll get cut off at the knees. Actively engage with the Gatekeeper. You are unlikely to be the best of friends, but building a rapport with them will help you.
- Do not sell to the Gatekeeper.
No matter how desperate you are, never try to sell to the Gatekeeper. The Gatekeeper has several powers, but decision-making is not one of them. When the Gatekeeper asks “Can I know what this is regarding?”, do not try to pitch your product to them. It will plainly give them an opportunity to say “ I don’t think we will be interested”.
- Be aware of your voice tone. Show confidence and ease.
The Gatekeepers perception of your sales reps impacts their decision on whether to allow your reps through or not. If your reps are nervous, stressed or tense, it will be reflected in their voice, attitude, and choice of words. Take some deep slow breaths, and set your mind at ease before the call. And when the Gatekeeper answers, smile and confidently greet them.
- Request for their help.
Try to enlist for the Gatekeeper’s help, and try to shift them from blocking you to helping you. Creating a scenario that invites help has helped a lot of sales rep in reaching the Decision-Maker. Asking questions like, “Maybe you can help me here”, and “I am not really sure who I need to connect with” is a great way of engaging with the Gatekeeper. Make sure your tone has a mix of curiosity and lost to reaffirm your seek in help.
Being prepared for the objections that will shut the reps down is a great way to master sales calls that bust through the gatekeeper.
“What is the call in regards to”
“Is this a sales call”
“He does not take sales calls”
“He will not be interested in that”
“We are already using someone”
“Can you send me your information”
“You will need to send your information to our supplier line”
Understanding the objections gatekeepers normally come up with will help your reps in handling gatekeepers easily. Redirecting gatekeepers to value statement or qualifying questions is a smart way to respond to objections. There are many more sales objections Inside Sales Rep should know about that would help them in handling objections better.