One of the most frustrating things in sales is a gatekeeper blocking your call. At Sellcrowd, we know that the average sales rep gets past the gatekeeper only 31% of the time. You heard that correct. Roughly 70% of calls go to waste.
There is drastic variation to this statistic, of course, when you factor in things like time of day to call, having a decision maker name and not having a decision maker name, quality of the sales pitch and quality of the sales consultant. We ramp up that statistic to over 50% with effective training. By and large though, no one gets past the gatekeeper every time. It’s a fact of life in sales that you will be blocked.
The savvy salesperson needs a number of sales tactics up his or her sleeve to circumvent the gatekeeper. Try some of these below and let us know your tactics in the comments.
The Assumptive Approach
Putting an air of authority into your voice is an effective tactic for overcoming gatekeepers. A sales script we’ve used that was actually recommended by Jordan Belfort goes like this.
Salesperson: ‘Hi, [insert prospect name] please’
Gatekeeper: ‘Can I ask who is calling?’
Salesperson: ‘Just say it’s [your name]. Thanks’.
Gatekeeper: ‘And what was the call about?’
Salesperson: ‘Just say its [your name] in the digital partnerships department?’
The question mark at the end of the last sentence is to indicate an upwards inflection. Not exactly a question, its more of a ‘put me through please, they’ll know what its about’ intonation in your voice.
Authority and being direct is key in this approach.
Effective Note Taking
One of the best things you can do with a gatekeeper is spend two extra minutes asking he or she to write down a note for you. Why? A well written note is like a little piece of marketing. It’s a tiny piece of brand awareness that gets passed on to your prospect.
Salesperson: Hi, is John there? It’s Lloyd from Sellcrowd.
Gatekeeper: He’s not in right now. He’s in a meeting. He doesn’t take calls, sorry. Etc.
Salesperson: Okay. Can I leave a message?
Salesperson: ‘Great. Do you have a pen?’ (make sure they are going to write down the note by asking if they have a pen. If no, say you’ll wait. Once they start writing, you are delivering a hand written marketing message to your prospect. Feel free to have them write a novel for you at this point. Go nuts. A long note will stand out. Your name and number will not).
Here is what I have used.
Lloyd Perry, Digital Partnerships Manager (use as senior a title as you can manage) of Sellcrowd.com. (use your website URL, not company name, prospects might be more inclined to look you up if you have interesting web address). Calling re a partnership to sell more x product (x = one of their specific products, not just the company as a whole) to y companies (y = choose an intriguing or left field industry they might want to target).
While on the topic of note taking, it’s also good practice to take notes in your CRM on gatekeepers. If you are a regular practitioner of persistence, and like it when you receive a no, notes on gatekeepers will eventually get you through to a prospect.
Salesperson: ‘Hi is John there?!’ (say this fast and loud, and you can even skip the ‘hi’. You’ll sound time-poor and demanding)
Gatekeeper: ‘We have a lot of John’s here. Which John are you after?’
Saleperson: ‘Surname!’ LOUD.
If your tone an intonation is right, you’ll sound like someone that knows the prospect very well without that gatekeeper even asking for your name.
Be Nice. Gatekeepers are Humans.
Talking on the phone all day long is a pretty hard, which you should know. Gatekeepers get bored as hell in their role. So talk to them and take an interest in them personally. If you have been aggressively blocked, your sales target is now the gatekeeper. Ask for their help. People like to help when you ask them for help. Play dumb.
Salesperson: ‘Hey I’m trying to get in touch with X because Y in the Z department told me that was the person to speak to about (insert topic). I think he really wasn’t sure and you probably know everyone in the company I’m guessing?’ PAUSE.
Elicit a positive response and the gatekeeper is much more likely to help you.
Have you used any successful methods for getting past the gatekeeper? Let us know in the comments.