For businesses of all sizes, cold calling is an effective but challenging way to drive lead generation. But did you know that most unsolicited cold calls never reach the decision maker? This is partially why cold calling is such a challenge for sales reps. Instead of connecting directly to their target audience, reps need to get past the gatekeeper first.
Luckily, getting past a gatekeeper isn’t as scary as it sounds. Most of the time it just takes patience, respect, and practice. After all, gatekeepers are just trying to do their job! Here are our tips on how to get past the gatekeeper and turn this adversary into an ally.
Who is a Gatekeeper?
Most decision makers are too busy to handle phone calls alone and need assistance managing unsolicited communication. Enter: the gatekeeper. Gatekeepers are usually the first person who answers the phone when you call a decision maker. Indeed.com characterizes a gatekeeper’s role as mitigating unwanted interruptions to decrease stress: “many companies use gatekeepers to make sure that executives get the most important information and updates about the business while mitigating interruptions from visitors or callers. This saves valuable time and prevents stress for company heads.”
Gatekeepers are also known as:
- Personal Assistants
These roles generally center around managing a decision maker’s schedule, correspondence, and to-do list. Since a gatekeeper is such a key player in the decision maker’s professional life, they are a powerful ally when it comes to securing time to talk to the decision maker.
Some gatekeepers, like executive assistants, may have more influence over buying decisions than others. If possible, try to ascertain the gatekeeper’s official title in relation to the key decision makers.
Strategies to Get Past the Gatekeeper
In some cases, getting past the gatekeeper is as simple as asking for a meeting with the decision maker. Some companies have more relaxed policies about passing along unsolicited calls, and will patch you over to the decision maker right away.
Unfortunately, the reality is that most gatekeepers are hired to keep decision makers free from unwanted communication, which is why they are notoriously hard to get past. Here are our tips on how to slip past the gatekeeper and close more deals.
#1 Let the Conversation Flow
Although it’s normal to be nervous, try to remember that gatekeepers are just people too. Try to approach the call with a laid-back and friendly attitude. You never know – a gatekeeper can be a powerful friend!
Don’t be afraid to mine your resources for mutual connections that establish shared interests between you and the gatekeeper or you and the decision maker. The goal is to build a relationship of trust between you and the gatekeeper.
#2 Do Your Research
A well-trained gatekeeper will identify an ill-informed sales rep in a flash. If you aren’t bringing your A-game you’ll likely be called out for your lack of information and expertise. While you aren’t pitching to the gatekeeper per-say, you still want to demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about the company and the decision maker. Don’t enter a cold call without preparing and conducting some research first.
#3 Be Sincere and Respectful
Another sure-fire way to get shut down is to enter the conversation with an insincere or patronizing attitude. Gatekeepers will view you in a better light if you treat them with respect and politeness.
Sincerity doesn’t mean you have to tell the truth 100% of the time. While it’s wise to avoid outright lies, it’s a viable tactic to tell a small white lie to establish your relevance. For example, if you reach out to a decision maker by email before calling, you might indicate that the decision maker was expecting your call after receiving your email. While this may not be strictly true, it may help soften the gatekeeper’s resolve.
#4 Include the Gatekeeper
While it’s unproductive to give the gatekeeper your full-on sales pitch with all the bells and whistles, in some cases it may be beneficial to offer them the abridged version. Practice your “bite-sized” sales pitch so you have something to offer a curious or suspicious gatekeeper who wants to know more about your product. With any luck, they will be able to see the value you have to offer their employer and will be more inclined to pass you along to the decision makers.
#5 Search for a Direct Line to the Decision Maker
In some cases getting past the gatekeeper is impossible. If the gatekeeper won’t budge, search for alternative ways to get directly in-touch with the decision maker. Use social sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to find contact information. If that fails, you could even try messaging the decision maker on LinkedIn and emphasize your interest in setting up a phone call. Hopefully they will be responsive to your offer and interested in learning more about your company.
#6 Reach Out to the Decision Maker’s Colleagues
Instead of going straight to the decision maker, try connecting with their colleagues. Although one gatekeeper might be hard to get past, another may be more lenient. In a large company, try reaching out to multiple departments. You may be surprised and find a helpful connection in another department.
#7 Hire Outsourced Lead Generation Support
Sometimes the hassle and stress of reaching the decision maker is too much for sales reps who already have enough on their plates. Additionally, trying to secure a meeting with the decision maker might be wasting your reps’ valuable time and energy. Instead of saddling in-house reps with lead generation responsibilities, consider contracting with an outsourced lead generation service.
Reps at outsourced lead generation companies are experts when it comes to cold calling and sales techniques. Investing in outsourced support might be what you need to take your lead generation to the next level.
Working with LeadJen
At LeadJen, we strive to help our clients find qualified leads who match their ideal customer profile. LeadJen is a lead generation and sales development service dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes reach their full potential. Our methodology is based on collaborative relationships with our clients, innovative lead generation strategies, and a goal-oriented philosophy.
Here are some of the reasons why our clients love working with us:
- Flexibility – At LeadJen, we never want you to pay for services you aren’t receiving. This is why we have a flexible monthly payment plan so you can fit us into your budget on your terms.
- Scalability – Whether you’re looking to outsource your entire sales team or just provide your in-house reps with extra support, LeadJen offers scalable services so you can choose the balance that works for you.
- Innovation – Our reps love finding hidden gems. From lead generation and beyond, we prioritize expanding your business’s horizons and introducing your brand to new customers who align with your target audience.
- Experience – We’ve helped clients nationwide fulfill their goals and expand their company’s client-base. Our SDRs are highly-skilled in their field, and are committed to providing your company with unparalleled lead generation, training, and recruitment support.
We love working with our clients and we can’t wait to get to know you! Contact us today to request a quote and start your lead generation journey.