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how do I get past the secretary

    • 0 posts
    March 21, 2007 6:37 AM EDT
    When you`re out cold calling, how do you get past that person at the front desk and get to the decision maker? Everyone has been suggesting that I market to hospital gift shops, but the sweet volunteer ladies there, shoot me down before I get 10 words out of my mouth, even though they are not the ones deciding what`s sold in the gift shop. Other people have told me they have the same problem in thier types of business. They`ll get thier name out and be told, we already have that service, or we don`t need that service. Even though they might be told that they can save thousands of dollars per year. How do you get past that person at the desk? For me, I have the problem of curling up into a ball and afraid of being put down at the next one. Help

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    kkrafts
    "Treat every day as a new adventure"

    • 0 posts
    March 21, 2007 8:42 AM EDT
    I never thought about offering something to the gatekeeper, Only the decision maker. So that could work. Also, what if I don`t know who the decision maker is? And the generic opening? Give me an example. I`ve never been the type that  pushes sales, I`ve always been a believer in "if they want it they`ll buy it". But, now that I`m on my own, it`s a different story. I`ve been working on the backdoor approach, flyers, brochures, price lists in the mail, but help me have the confidence in myself to go face to face. I have confidence in my products, and do well with repeat sells and referrals, but not the cold calling.

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    kkrafts
    "Treat every day as a new adventure"

    • 0 posts
    March 22, 2007 8:06 AM EDT
     That was a great article ModJulie, I  recommend it for all entrepreneurs, even if they aren`t crafters like me, especially part 2of her post. She gives some good advice on selling.

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    kkrafts
    "Treat every day as a new adventure"

    • 0 posts
    March 22, 2007 4:46 PM EDT
    I, too, was a gatekeeper, but a nice one. So for me to approach an unapproachable one it throws me off. Everyone has been so helpful on this question that I think I`m about ready to put all the good points together and go out and meet some new prospects. Thanks once again.

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    kkrafts
    "Treat every day as a new adventure"

    • 0 posts
    June 29, 2007 11:14 AM EDT
    Wow! It`s been quite awhile since I`ve seen a post from here and today there are 2 new ones. I think my biggest problem is the cold calling and the fear of being turned away. Some people tell me to take a complimentary basket and others tell me not to. I`ve found that if I do a complimentary basket, it is a general one for everyone in the office to enjoy. I also include a brochure and some of my business cards. I`ve found some of the nicest gatekeepers and then the ones that don`t even let you open your mouth. I am thankful for all the different ideas that everyone has been giving me. It really helps keep my confidence up.

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    kkrafts
    "Treat every day as a new adventure"

    • 0 posts
    July 17, 2007 8:01 AM EDT
    Hi Salesdude, sorry it`s taken me so long to reply. First, WELCOME! to SuN. where you will find friendly people, and help if you need it. Thank you for your advice, I never thought about lunch times and after everyone else goes home. I know from experience that many times the owner stays after the gatekeeper leaves, but I don`t think that`s the case, when it comes to hospital gift shops, but I will try the two call approach.
    Thanks, and once again Welcome to SuN.
    Karen

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    kkrafts
    "Treat every day as a new adventure"

    • 0 posts
    July 17, 2007 12:21 PM EDT
    Hi Craig,
     I really like the two phone call deal, which I plan on using here real soon.
    Everyone comes up with ideas for me on who to market to, but nobody really tells me how and being the fact that I`m not a very good salesperson. Anyway my sister came up with an idea that I should market to Ronald McDonald house. After the phone calls, how do I explain, that I am not donating baskets, but looking to sell them baskets and at a very reasonable cost. I have a personal interest in this idea, (my son had cancer when he was younger and they had not put in the Ronald McDonald house,yet) anyway, I need to know how to approach the subject with person in charge. I know this should be in a different category. Just give me an idea to head me in the right direction.
    Thanks, Karen

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    kkrafts
    "Treat every day as a new adventure"

    • 0 posts
    July 17, 2007 4:24 PM EDT
    Actually, I lost a big order,900 baskets, because I just couldn`t do them for $5 each. And I could not see anyone else being able to, and making any profit, or possibly even losing money. But the one thing I learned, I should have done it.
    So, you win some, you lose some, right?
    Karen

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    kkrafts
    "Treat every day as a new adventure"

    • 0 posts
    August 2, 2007 7:32 PM EDT

    Hi Craig, just to let you know I haven`t been ignoring you or your question, but I have been busy. Not with work though. My Dad (he`s 83) fell 3 weeks ago while he was in WA. So he drove all the way back to CA to go to the drs. He was afraid they would put him in the hospital. So, I have been going back and forth to his place helping him out. Luckily business has been slow, (which means I should be out pounding the pavement) As to your question,  For what they wanted, it would have cost me $6 per. I ammended the proposal and created something comparable, that I could give them at $5 per, but they had their mind set. It was for a major hospital in the area and would have brought in more orders for special events. (nurse`s conventions, employee appreciations, etc.) Not to mention the fact that my business cards would be in 900 baskets. The lady I was negotiating with, ended up purchasing small items, and putting them together in a small plastic tote bag as the employees walked into her office. She had boxes stacked to the ceiling. I wasn`t up against any competition that I know of.  I create my baskets from start to finish myself. From the basket or container used, to arranging the items, to shrink wrapping, and putting on the finishing touches. Every basket is hand done. And every one is going to be unique, even if they have the same items in them. I take pride in what I do, and if it doesn`t look right to me, I take it apart and start over. I feel my time is worth that extra buck.

    Better go.

    Karen

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    kkrafts
    "Treat every day as a new adventure"

    • 0 posts
    August 3, 2007 9:31 AM EDT

    Actually, there is a thread on this forum, which I started, on proposals and budget.,(somewhere)

    When I first started going after this particular sale. Just a basic rundown, I was placing baskets in the conciegre office at the hospital, and they were interested in my mug baskets, that were going for $12 -$15 ea. So, I assumed, (big mistake on my part), that was their budget, and nobody brought up that point, until after the proposal was presented. I`m learning from my mistakes.

    I also knew, from my research prior, that nobody else could do it, at that price, either.

    I went to Barnes and Noble this morning and picked up the book, "Selling for Dummies". I meant to get on this thread prior to going, so that I could look for the book that Craig (salesdude ) had recommended.

    Craig, tell your wife tohang in there. As for my Dad, he`s back to his old cranky self.

    Hope everyone has a great day.

    Karen

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    kkrafts
    "Treat every day as a new adventure"

    • 355 posts
    March 27, 2007 8:51 AM EDT

    I used to work in a large warehousing operation.  The warehouse manager handled all the purchasing of replacement stock and received daily visits from vendor reps.  One day, a new sales rep walked in with a box of donuts.  He was also very rude to the warehouse employee at the front desk. 

     

    Unbeknownst to the rep, the warehouse manager was standing nearby.  He had been working in the back part of the warehouse and was on his way back to his office.  He walked over to the sales rep and asked if he could be of assistance.  The sales rep, assuming he was talking to yet another underling, was again quite rude.  It was at this point that our manager introduced himself to the sales rep. 

     

    The sales rep appeared noticeably upset, but still offered the donuts to our manager.  Our manager then took the donuts, gave them to our receptionist and escorted the salesman out the front door.  He then suggested the salesman rethink his approach on his way to his next customer.

     

    I’ve always remember this when I have to call on companies.  First, I call the business and ask for the receptionist assistance in learning who I need to talk to.  I then leave a message asking if this person can spear time to discuss my product line.  If I have to make a cold call, I asked the receptionist if it would be a problem to leave my business card and catalog for the buyer.  I then call a few days latter to set up a meeting.

    nevadascul2007-3-27 13:52:55

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    The older we get, the more excuses we make for not chasing after our dreams. But truth is, goals are attainable at any age.

    • 11 posts
    March 27, 2007 7:18 AM EDT

    Hi, kkrafts

    I was a gatekeeper for too many years to count before starting my Virtual Assistance practice... and would like to offer the some suggestions that worked with me:

    Treat the person as a person.  As CraigL and Kindra both said... it is the job of the EA to protect their boss, help them manage their time and weed out the time-busters.  Bribing them, smoozing them and otherwise patronizing them is the fastest way to be shut down. 

    Short story:  I was talking with a very pushy, but disarming, salesperson who wanted access to my boss, the CEO.  After the second call, I received a dozen roses and a large box of chocolate with some hokey note about how grateful he was to "Dave`s girl" for passing on the information and how he hoped I would get him a meeting.  The most offensive part of this was his lack of respect for me as a professional EA.  My boss was going to take the meeting based on the information I collected and presented, but the attempt at bribing me to do so was so "good ole boy" that even the CEO told him how offended he was.

    So, talk to the gatekeeper as you would the exec your trying to get to.  Even if you`re eventually turned away, they will have the information to pass on to the person who you really need to see, and you will have more success because senior execs do rely on their EAs to use their own judgment for most everything.  And, Kindra is right when she says the EA is the most knowledgeable person in the company.

    Warmly,

    Danielle

     

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    Danielle Taylor *
    Taylor-Made Virtual Assistance *
    Real Virtual Solutions for Real Business Needs *
    http://www.TaylorVA.com

    • 34 posts
    March 21, 2007 7:57 AM EDT

    Try the "Trojan Horse" method. Tell the Secretary/gatekeeper (usually a Female) that you are offering "free-samples" (whatever you`re selling), or complementary something. Try this: "Hello! "FREE CANDY" is my name! And I would like to send you (sorry! What is your name)...bla..bla."  Sounds crazy right? - It`s not!

    This should at least "disarm" that person. Offer the gatekeeper something that is especially directed at them (most secretaries feel they "run the joint" anyway  -  as MOST DO! And welcome ANY due compensation they can get). Then ask to speak to THE MAN behind the double doors.

    It`s like throwing a STEAK to a watchdog.

    Unless your free samples (products) are expensive.

    Rumpelstiltskin2007-3-21 13:1:16
    • 34 posts
    March 21, 2007 10:12 AM EDT

    I am a lot like you! And WE are a lot like most OTHERS. Therefore, a little "stagefright" is normal (that`s what we`re really talking about). But heck! As I get older - the less I care!  Are these people (prospects) ever going to show up at my door saying: " Hey! That was a so-so attempt to circumvent my superior armor - what were you thinking! -  I am greater than you".      Answer: NO! 

    Generic opening?  Well, if you`re selling COOKIES.   Rinnnng..Rinnng..Rinnng. ( Them:  Hello! - I Can`t be bothered with you Incorporated).  YOU: Free COOKIES are coming your way Lucky Lady!  (Them: They ARE?)  YOU: That`s right!  What is your name?  (Them: Mrs. Much More Pleasant than I would be without the FREE COOKIE TALK).

    Think of yourself as Dr. Phil trying to creat an "AWAKENING" within  the heart of some pure & lonely PHONE DRONE!  Have fun with it.

    Rumpelstiltskin2007-3-21 15:14:22
    • 16 posts
    March 22, 2007 5:28 AM EDT

    Here is a great article from a blog I happened upon a few months ago.  While it is not directed to Hospital gift shops per se, it does give one shop owner`s perspective on being approached by vendors.  I found it very interesting, because the auther is not only a shop owner but also a designer of handmade goods, so she understands both sides of the coin, so to speak.

    http://rosylittlethings.typepad.com/posie_gets_cozy/2006/01/ wholesale_retai.html

    I hope this helps.

    ModJulie

    • 30 posts
    March 22, 2007 8:14 AM EDT

    I spent the first 12 years of my career being the "gatekeeper" for CEO`s and presidents of mid sized firms.  The biggest part of my job was to manage the time of a very busy executive.  I was regularly contacted by sales people who insisted on speaking to the president.  It is rare that the president or CEO is the person you wish to speak with.  I was always more helpful to those people who approached me as a person, explained their service or product and asked who they should speak with. 

    The executive assistant to the president of a company is a wealth of knowledge.  They know the ins and outs of almost any department in the company.  Just another perspective from the other side...

     

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    Kindra Beauprey Director Liberty Bell Spirit Squad www.libertybells.net

    • 120 posts
    July 21, 2007 4:49 AM EDT
    If it were me, I`d go in and ask the "sweet volunteer ladies" who their boss was and then ask to speak to that person. I would have 2 or 3 baskets with me. If you get  to speak with that person then find out who is responsible for purchasing. Just get names but be prepared to meet in person on the spot. If you get to the decision maker, offer the 2 or 3 baskets for free as a trial run. Tell them you`ll come back in a week and pick them up if they don`t sell.  100% profit for them on two or three baskets with no obligation. If they sell you`re a shoe in for more orders, if they don`t you`ve only lost your time.

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    Get Out of Debt

    • 38 posts
    March 21, 2007 6:54 AM EDT
    Ah the wonderful world of getting past the gatekeeper =)  The most important part of the call is the opening of the call.  What are you saying in your first sentence?  You want to keep the opening as generic as possible so that there is a sort of ambiguity of who you are and why you are calling.  The "gatekeeper`s" job is to weed out what they perceive to be a "sales" call.  A generic/ambiguous opening makes the gatekeeper think that the owner already either has an existing relationship or account with your company.  Once past the gatekeeper, you can get down to business, as the decision maker is the one you want to be speaking with anyway =)

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    Oliver Mupas
    United Bank Card
    866-207-6007 ext 303
    omupas@ubcnetworkonline.com

    • 7 posts
    March 22, 2007 5:45 AM EDT

    Get the decision makers name.  Call after work hours and leave a message on the voicemail saying that you will be in area and will stop in the office at 10am the next morning.  Show up and say that you have a meeting at 10am with the decision maker.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn`t!

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    Paul Miser, MBA
    Miser Advertising and Marketing
    Intensify. Market. Grow!
    www.MiserAd.com
    MiserAd Blog
    Email Me

    • 5 posts
    March 29, 2007 8:30 AM EDT

    Hi KKrafts,

    I have had the most success with just being upfront and honest. I believe in my products and that comes across in my calls. Try coming across this way: People love a good story, ask that person for their help, make their day, ask them what it takes to get in the door. BE SINCERE

    Hi-----, my name is Rob and I was hoping you could help me gather some information I am needing, I know you are busy but do you have a moment? Thanks I appreciate it. I have this ----- and it seems to fit nicely with what you do. I am sure it could be of benefit, who would I need to speak with............. you have been such a huge help, thanks again and have a wonderfull day.

    Then call back after hours and leave that Gatekeeper a message thanking them again.

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    Robert R. Bruce rbruce@docs2digital.com      & nbsp;    O. 503-668-3155 C. 503-502-1821 www.docs2digital.com

    • 5 posts
    June 11, 2008 4:02 PM EDT
    Hi Karen
     
    Heres my thoughts. Next time offer them an incentive package. $XX for up to 100 baskets, $X0 for 200+ and so on. Remember the value of those business cards and being able to say to the next hospital ...well. I have just placed 900 with such and such hosp down the street.
    Yes, its nice to say hey my product is worth $XX but at the end of the day what did your bank account say????? We are building our business`s here, we dont have a ton in the bank and making a name for ourselves is one of the strongest things we can do.
     
    Just my thoughts and my best wishes for your father.
    Rob B.

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    Robert R. Bruce rbruce@docs2digital.com      & nbsp;    O. 503-668-3155 C. 503-502-1821 www.docs2digital.com

    • 44 posts
    June 28, 2007 10:31 PM EDT

    the sweet volunteer ladies there, shoot me down before I get 10 words out of my mouth, even though they are not the ones deciding

    But those sweet volunteer ladies are the people who have the name of the person you need to speak to, the buyer.  I`m surprised you weren`t given the name when you asked for it but maybe you just got their one cranky volunteer.  Call back another day, another time & I bet you`ll get a volunteer who will provide the name, give the buyer`s extension number, etc. etc. 

    My advice is to always jot down the name & any info you gather from the receptionist.  It may be a bunch of calls until you finally reach the person you need to speak with & it`s going to go much faster if you get the receptionist in your corner.

    • 50 posts
    March 22, 2007 7:35 PM EDT

    Hi kkrafts:

    What you`ve written about in your post is exactly the reason why I wrote my book, "Testosterone-Free Marketing."  You see, part of this is the fact that yes, indeed you need a strategy to get past the gatekeeper - but the other part of the equation in this whole scenario is how you`re feeling about the whole thing and the fact that you don`t see yourself as a sales person.  I mentor women five days a week who are in their own businesses and suddenly find themselves in the situation where they have to sell and they have come across as more strong than they`re naturally comfortable with.   And quite honestly it makes them really uncomfortable - just like it`s making you feel.  

    Millions of women out there in the US were raised being told that to try to sell or persuade is not nice or ladylike.  And that message may even be on a subconscious level.  But it means that we`re more likely to back down and it also means that we`re less likely to get what we want in our businesses. 

    It may appear to some people that we`re not as dedicated or serious about our businesses - but it`s not true.  It just means that we were raised with a certain code of behavior that makes selling and getting past the gatekeeper very uncomfortable - so much so that sometimes it even creates stress for us. 

    We have awesome relationship building skills and wonderful abilities to "read" people and situations but some women lack when it comes to leading and directing a conversation - and that`s the first thing you really have to be willing to do to sell anything - including getting past the gatekeeper.

    All the best,

    Denise Michaels, Author, "Testosterone-Free Marketing"

    Visit me online at http://www.MentoringwithDenise.com

     

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    PS: Does the thought of marketing drive you to chocolate? I`m looking for a very special woman who loves her business but hates selling and marketing. Tell me about your business and your challenges and I`ll tell you how I can help you have more fun, feel more confident and make a lot more money. All my marketing mentoring clients get results. Visit me at http://www.MentoringwithDenise.com

    • 1 posts
    June 7, 2008 11:16 PM EDT
    Hello all, I wish I had stumbled across this thread earlier. I could`ve really used all of the suggestions etc. offered to Karen but I guess it was too late for me...such is life...
    But if anyone is still reading and can help me out and offer suggestions with my particular problem that would be greatly appreciated...
     
    I work in sales, more specifically, sales of corporate hospitality sporting packages (eg. F-1, Olympics, Soccer, Golf, & Football combined with package deals providing all inclusive service ranging from 5-star hotel stays, mingling events with celebrity guest speakers to full course meals all day round when avaiable, and other facilities to ensure a good time...not to mention the the sporting event itself....be it a F-1 race or Euro 2008 match) 
     
    My main target group are Top Executives / DM`s etc...Pretty much, I have to get them to buy one or two of our packages to go out for a round of golf or F-1 race with either clients they`re trying to pick up or just other executives on their teams and relax while enjoying the event...
     
    The problem I`ve been having, although I`ve managed to close a few deals, is very much like the situation Karen was having...getting in the door.  After reading through some previous posts here on how to handle gatekeeps etc I have to try them out and see how they fit for me but does any one have any suggestions as it relates to my specific product? 
     
    Combining 
     
    Corporate Hospitality + Sports Events
     
    Thank you for the time.
     
    Jose