Sales reps often refer to receptionists, assistants, and phone operators as gatekeepers—and for good reason. These professionals have the job of screening calls, deciding what’s important, and ultimately, who gets through to their boss—the decision maker.
Essentially, gatekeepers hold the key to B2B sales success. If you can’t convince a gatekeeper you’re important, you can kiss that sale goodbye. If this is something you struggle with, have no fear. Today we uncover six methods to help you bypass gatekeepers and reach prospects faster. Keep reading!
Treat gatekeepers with respect.
This should go without saying—but we’ll say it anyway: Treat receptionists, assistants, and phone operators with respect. Consider them a valuable resource that can help you make a sale rather than something standing in the way of your sale. Be kind and let them know you appreciate their help—whether or not they connect you with their boss.
The second you become rude, impatient, or dismissive, you have a good chance of losing the sale for good.
Act more senior.
You’ll have a difficult time reaching a decision maker if the gatekeeper doubts your seniority. Although cold calls can be nerve-wracking, it’s important that you conduct yourself with confidence and authority.
Clearly explain who are, who you’d like to speak with, and what the purpose of your call is. Be sure to refer to our previous point and remain respectful. There’s a big difference between confidence and arrogance— one will help you reach your prospect the other could cause you to lose a big sale.
While this approach may not be realistic for every sale, adding a personal element can go a long way toward bypassing gatekeepers. Deliver a handwritten note, request an in-person meeting, or send your prospect and their assistant some marketing swag. Go the extra mile to help you stand out from hundreds of callers and gain the competitive advantage.
People can sense when they’re being deceived. When you speak with a receptionist, be direct, answer questions honestly, and be clear about your intentions. Being evasive will immediately signal alarms and the person on the other line will not trust you.
Use the gatekeeper as your resource.
View each gatekeeper as a resource rather than an obstacle. Phone operators, receptionists, and assistants have access to valuable information. They know where your prospect is, what their schedule looks like, their phone number, and much more.
Get to know the gatekeeper and use this information to your advantage. Ask important questions—Do you already have a product like the one I’m selling? Does your company work with any of my competitors? What are your biggest pain points?
Not only will this help you form a relationship with the gatekeeper, but you’ll also have more information to prepare for your conversation with the prospect.
Invest in contact information.
Arguably the most important way to bypass gatekeepers is to invest in contact information. Work with a B2B data provider to secure the direct dials and email addresses of your most important prospects. Although you may still reach a receptionist, you’ll greatly increase your chances of getting through to a decision maker. Consider the following statistics:
- It takes 22 minutes to connect using switchboard numbers, but with direct dials, it only takes 5 minutes (source).
- When dialing a direct dial phone number at the director level, you are 46% more likely to connect (source).
- When dialing a direct dial number at the VP level, you are 147% more likely to connect (source).
For more, read our article on direct dials impact on B2B sales efforts.
Although it’s frustrating to constantly be deterred by a gatekeeper—it’s important to remember that, like you, they’re just doing their job. Be polite and professional to form a relationship with every person who takes your call. Then, use the tips above to reach more prospects.
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