Two of my coaching clients told me last week that getting past the gatekeeper is their biggest problem at the moment. I will therefore share with you in this month’s Tips Newsletter why this might be and what to do about it. There is a big chapter on this in my book “Don’t Get Hung Up!” but I will give you a few more strategies here to add to your repertoire.
4 Reasons Why You Might Fail To Get Past The Gatekeeper
You sound timid, hesitant, apologetic or unsure of yourself
You start selling your products and services to the gatekeeper
You are asking for the name of the decision maker (This shows it is a sales call)
You have not planned your responses to possible gatekeeper questions
Strategies to Try
Sounding confident when you request to speak to a decision maker is vital.
Stand up to get the energy into your voice and say “May I speak to Jo Bloggs please , thank you.” (Saying “Thank You” at the end makes it sound like you really mean business and makes you sound confident). If it is a small company, sometimes it works to ask for the person’s Christian name only . “May I speak to Jo please, thank you.” (It makes it sound like you know the person well.)
Don’t start telling the gatekeeper what you do
When you do that, the gatekeeper will immediately know it is a sales call and not want to connect you. Tell the gatekeeper the benefit of what you do. For example “I have an idea I would like to share with him which will (add benefit)” or “I have some interesting information to share with him.” If you are promoting a seminar, say “It’s about his attendance at _______” (this sounds like the decision maker has already booked!)
When you don’t have the name of the Decision Maker
Start your request with “I wonder if you can help me? I am looking for the name of the person in charge of _______ . When they tell you, say “Thank You , May I speak to him/her please?” If they say “No” because they realise you do not know the person , that is okay, simply get the email address and mailing address if possible and ask for any other information you need. Then ring back another day.
Plan your responses to the following gatekeeper questions as follows:-
Is this a sales call?
It’s actually a service call to give him information that he is going to need.
Is he expecting your call?
If you have mailed something already, hopefully you said in the letter that you would be calling to follow up in a couple of days. Then you can legitimately tell the gatekeeper “Yes, he is”.
What is this about?
“It is about an idea I have for him how to (add benefit)” or
“It’s about an event he will probably want to attend” or “I need to ask him who in the company will be attending the _____ event.”
Have you spoken to him before?
“I have mailed (or emailed) him some information and promised to call in a couple of days to get his feedback.”
He/she does not take sales calls
Ask “So how do you suggest I reach him/her? It is important that I do.”
Try these tips on how to get past the gatekeeper this week to find what works for you