Tackling One of the Biggest Sales Challenges: Turning Gatekeepers Into Door Openers

From Sales Development Expert, Jack Kasel

You know who they are. They are the ones charged with protecting the person(s) whom you need access to, to begin your sales process. They are the moat around the castle, and sometimes they are the alligators in the water!

If I have my druthers, I would rather have a live person rather than getting caught in “Automated Attendant Purgatory.” Those remind me of a verse in the song Hotel California: “You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.”

I prefer to view these people as door openers, not gatekeepers. I prefer to treat them like human beings. I prefer to try and make a friend. They have a job to do, and you have a job to do. I guarantee you won’t be able to do your job if you make them an adversary while they’re doing their job.

Chris Voss says, “Never be mean to anyone who can hurt you simply by doing nothing.” Do you want your message to be put in the hand of the person you want to reach, OR it accidentally ends up in the wastebasket? The choice is yours.

Let’s try this:

  • Be nice!
    • I’ve read things that say “insist on being put through” or be very curt in your responses. Nonsense.
    • Thank them for answering the phone. I know it’s their job, but thank them anyway.
    • When they say “Can I tell Jane what this is regarding?” say “Yes, and thanks for asking.”
  • Be complimentary
    • Before they transfer you or take your message, simply say “I think you have a marvelous phone personality.” “You are a great ambassador for your company.” “You are very good at what you do.” Here is what you will typically hear; “Oh my, you just made my day.”
  • Try to make them laugh. If you hear
    • He/she’s not in right now.
      • Well, if they are gone, and you are still working, I guess we know who is in charge, don’t we?
      • OK, I need to know who authorized them to be gone, was that you? Pause and then laugh, and they will laugh with you.
    • He/she’s in a meeting.
      • What would happen if you walked into the meeting and demanded they take my call?… Pause, laugh, and they will laugh too.
    • He/she’s not here.
      • Have the local authorities been notified? I fear the citizens are in grave danger.

They may be having a crappy day, and maybe, just maybe, you can bring a little sunshine into their life.

It’s amazing what can happen if you make a friend. Plus, it sure beats being a jerk.

Prospecting, particularly cold calling, can be a heart-wrenching, soul-killing, spirit-breaking activity. If you are going to do it, have some fun. The fate of the free world doesn’t depend on you getting through to someone. Be the reason someone has a good day.

Someone needs what you do. Go find them.

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