Make Connections

Network, Get Answers, Find Members in Your Area, and More!

Forums » Sales

How to Get Past the Gatekeeper

    • 3 posts
    February 12, 2009 3:40 AM EST

    Greetings,

    I am in search of effective suggestions directed to the age old question of how to get past the gatekeeper when making sales calls.

    Many gatekeepers ask “What is the nature of your call?”

    They are performing their job but if I wanted to discuss my business with them then I would do so.

    I am seeking the sage counsel of the highly evolved minds of SUN to assist me.

    Thanks in advance.

    Best regards,

    Mike in Atlanta

    • 3 posts
    February 12, 2009 5:16 AM EST
    Hi Stan,

    That`s a great story.

    Thanks,

    Mike

    • 3 posts
    February 12, 2009 6:59 AM EST
    Hi S. Patrick,

    Meeting is an excellent choice of words.

    Thanks,

    Mike

    • 355 posts
    February 12, 2009 6:19 AM EST
    Hi Mike,

    I agree with Stan.  I use to do outside sales for a company.  Number one, don`t call on Mondays or Fridays.  These are the busiest days of the week for managers.  Not only will they not talk to you, they may form a negative impression of you. 

    Next, contact the purchasing department.  People in this department can tell you who actually makes the buying decisions.  Sometimes it`s the head of a specific department such as building maintenance, sometimes it`s the purchasing department.  Also find out from purchasing if you need to be list on their vendor list.  It`s easier to make a sale if you are already on the list.

    Next, put together a product packet that you can drop off for the person you need to see.  Include in the packet a letter of introduction.  The letter should also include a note that you will call the following Tuesday or Wednesday to set up a short meeting.   Used the word "meeting" as it does not imply any obligation to buy anything.  Then drop the packet off at the appropriate department.  

    Asking for a meeting also shows respect for the person you are to meet with.  Cold calls show disrespect for the person.  And, most managers won`t waste time with a salesman that does cold calls.

    Hope this helps.

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

    • 2 posts
    March 25, 2009 8:47 AM EDT
    What is it that you sell. I don`t know any business owner that doesn`t want to save money, or run his business more efficiently.  Offering the best service....and then always over-deliver!
    Once you do get in always ask for referrals. 
    julie633/25/2009 2:44 PM

    ---
    Julie Knutson,
    Sales Consultant, Trainer and Motivator

    • 3 posts
    February 24, 2009 6:32 PM EST
    I have found that Sabeier is correct.  Simply asking for help gets you everywhere.  They are generally happy to help.  I also find it helpful (and polite, and the right thing to do) to not talk to whomever answers the phone like they are just the Keeper.  Treat them like a person, not  machine for dispensing information and putting you in touch with the boss.

     Be enthusiastic, be polite, and use their name.  Ask them how they are doing, thank them when they ask how you are doing.  Then ask them for a favor and explain what service you offer.  Find out who you should talk to and the best time to call or come in for a meeting.  I`ve had more than one happy secratary scheduale me a meeting with the office manager. 

    Great topic, I should have checked it before posting a "do you cold call" thread.

    ---
    William A Green Jr.
    Privateer Consulting
    www.privateer.biz
    Common Sense, Sanity, & Sarcasm

  • March 6, 2009 12:14 AM EST
    This is a great thread with some excellent replies.

    Of course no sales call is ever the same, but its essential to always be polite, yes even to those gatekeepers who keep blocking you.

    I have a sales force that I manage and I also get cold called a lot. So I sit on both sides here.

    Only last week I was calling a prospect when a very snobby gatekeeper (it was in Britain and us Brits can really get snobby when we want) and she asked me `what the nature of the call was` in a very condescending fashion.

    I was basically very honest with her and said ` we provide Company X (who are a household name in the same industry) with X services and I wanted to introduce our company to you and demonstrate how we are making great revenues for Company X and how we can generate the same for you`

    Some gatekeepers wont get it and fob you off but the fact I was able to mention such a big name (and it was true because us sales guys dont lie right!) meant she had to mentally change her attitude and she actually put me through to the correct dept. Had I been arrogant back, or tried to hide the fact I was a salesman I dont think I would have got anywhere.

    In my experience most cold calls I get are about advertising. I think its these kinds of calls that are being screened, so I take my hats off to you advertising guys because it must be a tough sale.

    Following on from that whenever I get a cold call, I always listen to those who bother to introduce themselves and ask me if I have a moment. If I get a cold call and they steam straight into the pitch then I am absolutely not interested - so bear that in mind as well.

    • 5 posts
    February 17, 2009 3:29 PM EST
    MaxB : A lot of gatekeepers will actually patch you through to the right person if you tell them, "The nature of your call."
    SALESCONSULTANT2/17/2009 9:35 PM
    • 1 posts
    February 12, 2009 3:10 PM EST
    I have been on both ends of this topic.  I have had a sales guy call me to sell me their services.  We didn`t need it at the time so I said no.  The smart thing he did was ask, "May I leave you with my name and contact for future reference".  Sure enough, we needed his help 6 months down the road.  Moral of the story, you may not get the immediate sale but it`s more important to plant the seed.

    I have also been the sales guy during my younger years. :)  The trick is not to call when the gatekeeper is at the gate.  I usually call after hours (around 6ish) when the gatekeeper goes home to be the housekeeper (sorry, bad joke).  Usually around this time, the person you`re trying to get a hold of is less busy and may have time to chat. 

    Just joined, looks like a very active community.  Hope to contribute more to help others out.