Dealing with the Gatekeeper When Cold Calling for Sales
When you are cold calling for sales, it is likely that you are going to face a gatekeeper. The first thing that you need to be aware of is that, just like you are being trained on selling and cold calling, they are being trained on screening your calls. It is one of their clear objectives to minimize the number of unsolicited sales calls that get through. But even with that being the case, there are very simple things that we can do to get around the gatekeeper and those are outlined below:
When the gatekeeper answers your call, he or she is quickly trying to determine if you are friend or foe. A friend is somebody that the company already knows and respects and foe is a stranger trying to get in.
One way to quickly let the gatekeeper know that you are not a foe is to name drop other people in the organization. By mentioning other people that you have met with in the organization, the gatekeeper will be more comfortable passing you through as you presenting yourself as being already on the inside.
If you have not yet met with or know anybody, you could simply mention names of individuals that you are planning on meeting with to present the image that you are not an outsider. You can even use the tern "planning" loosely to sound like it is on the calendar already when it is just in your plans to meet with them at some point.
Another tactic you can do if you have not met with anybody is to name drop individuals from other companies or other company names to establish comfort and credibility when cold calling for sales.
It is easy to see the gatekeeper as the enemy since they stand between you and where you want to go and since they may appear to be trying to stop your progress. If this is the case, it can help to try to turn the gatekeeper from an enemy to an ally.
This is powerful not only because it can help you to get around them when cold calling for sales, but it is also important because they are more powerful then we sometimes realize. They not only usually have valuable information on processes and initiatives, but they can also have influence in the decision making process.
Mention an Initiative
When you get a gatekeeper, you can mention that you are calling to schedule a meeting to discuss a particular initiative. This will give you credibility and let you appear like you are on the inside. If you have done your homework, you may know about an initiative that you can reference. But if you do not know of an initiative when cold calling for sales, there are some initiatives that every company has at any given time that you can mention like cutting labor costs, driving same store sales, etc.
Seek to Understand in Order to be Understood
Dr. Stephen Covey has written on a concept of “Seek to understand in order to be understood”. This concept is very powerful and can be used in any area where you are trying to build and maintain relationships. When you reach a stalemate with a gatekeeper when cold calling, it can be helpful to share with them that you understand their position. You can do this by telling them that you understand that they get a lot of people calling trying to sell stuff and that you understand that it is their job to filter as much as possible. Once you let them know that you understand their situation, you can begin to help them to understand you and why it is safe to let you in.