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Prospecting Training ~ Getting Past Gatekeepers Part 3

Part 3 of 3


In segments one and two of this series on gatekeepers, we discussed how to work with gatekeepers to gain information that we can use when approaching gatekeepers for access to decision-makers. We also discussed the two approaches to take with gatekeepers when looking for access to decision-makers.

In the following segment, we will discuss some pointers of what never to do when working with gatekeepers - and what will definitely keep you out.

What Never to Do With Gatekeepers:

1. Call and claim you're family, or claim to be calling from the police, IRS or FBI. One candidate though he'd get through to an HR rep who was from India. He told the receptionist he was a relative calling from India. The rep's father had been sick and she, fearing the worst, dropped everything to take this call, certain the news concerned her ailing father. Needless to say this candidate never worked for her company as a result of his misguided stunt.

2. Become surly, rude or sarcastic. It's a turn-off and suggests immaturity and a lack of flexibility.

3. Avoiding filling up your recipient's voice mailbox with long and detailed messages. Whether or not they are retrieved locally, it's inconsiderate and shows bad judgment on your part. Instead show off your communication skills with a short and pertinent "elevator" speech. If leaving multiple messages vary your message, listing a different qualification or benefit you provide each time you call.

4. Don't make the Decision Maker wrong for not being there to answer you in person, or for not having responded yet. To you it may seem like a simple thing to do (returning your call) yet consider the many priorities busy professionals already have on their to-do lists. Believe it or not, you're not the center of their universe!

5. Strive to make an impression. Using clichés and following scripts leaves you indistinguishable from the competition. Show some personality and spunk such that you'll stand apart from the crowd when you call and be memorable when they decide who to call back.

What Happens When You Never Can Get Through?

OK, so we've followed all the rules, practiced our approaches and we still can't get access to the decision-maker. What else can you try? Below are some approaches that I have seen to work effectively when you're doing everything right but still can't seem to get through.

- At some companies, the relief staff is not as efficient at gate keeping, so try to call during lunch and coffee breaks. You might get through.

If you sound like you know the person you are trying to reach, you have a better chance that the gatekeeper will announce your call (instead of politely informing you that your target is not available at the moment and offering to take a message).

- Get to know the decision-maker's schedule & moods! Calling before/after the gatekeeper's shift will get you through directly. Many Decision Makers work long hours and feel less pressured before/after hours.

- Try to meet decision-makers or other influencers at trade shows, associations, etc.

- Try to get an introduction from someone else in the organization that you may know.

- Try to get an introduction from a vendor or supplier to the decision-maker.

- When all else fails, have your Gatekeeper call theirs!


As you can tell, working with gatekeepers is of utmost importance in our quest to get access to decision-makers.

Some points to remember:

1. We must always be mindful that gatekeepers can lose their jobs by putting un-qualified prospects through to decision-makers. Help the gatekeeper recommend / sell you to her decision-maker.

2. Develop confidence in your voice. It is absolutely crucial to convincing a gatekeeper that he/she should put you through. If you don't believe in your solution, how is she going to believe in you? Confidence and integrity comes across the phone lines - be assured that how you ask for a decision-maker WILL impact your ability to access that decision-maker.

3. Consider adopting the prospecting strategy of creating demand for your product or service rather than servicing established demand. If you begin to pursue even a small percentage of new business in this way initially, you'll find that you can much more easily get access to the executives who will become your customers down the road--before the gatekeepers are ever given their marching orders. It takes time, patience, and a plan to sell in demand creation mode, but the winners will tell you it's well worth it.

Are you tired of having ineffectual results from your cold call campaigns? Don't give up - our prospecting training in Toronto will help you supercharge your campaign results quickly and easily.

After hundreds of thousands of phone calls, clients (Mirvish, HP, Scotia McLeod, etc.), 20 years of experience, Marguerite and her team know exactly what you need to succeed using the phone. Her 7-Step Model to implement successful outbound telephone prospecting campaigns has driven 300% year over year growth for clients.

You can reach Marguerite at The Results Source

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