You won’t always get through to the person you want to instantly and instead you’ll have to spend some time speaking to a ‘gatekeeper’ to prove your call is important, relevant and of interest to the decision-maker.
According to the Objective Management Group, only 13% of experienced salespeople are able to reach decision-makers. That’s a lot of people not getting through!
If you’re one of them, we’re here to help. Let’s explore some vital dos and don’ts to consider for getting past the gatekeeper in B2B sales.
What is a gatekeeper?
A gatekeeper is the term for anyone who blocks the way between you and the key decision maker within a target organisation. Gatekeepers are often receptionists, secretaries or administrative assistants whose job it is to screen unwanted or irrelevant calls from reaching their bosses. Any call they deem as unimportant or irrelevant will be fielded and prevented from proceeding any further.
A decision maker’s time is often limited and incredibly important for keeping their business running smoothly. Therefore, gatekeepers act as a shield, protecting them from any unwanted distractions or potential time wasters who might otherwise take them away from their main responsibilities.
The dos of getting past the gatekeeper…
Respect is hugely important when it comes to getting in front of the right person. While the gatekeeper may be standing between you and your B2B decision-maker, it’s crucial to remember a few important things.
Firstly, the gatekeeper is simply doing their job — which is protecting the B2B decision maker’s time. And secondly, manners cost nothing! Rarely does a disrespectful tone or conversation benefit anyone. Give respect, get respect.
Believing in yourself as a seller and having extensive knowledge of your product will help you build the confidence you need to succeed. Identify your strengths, build on them and use them to drive success.
Spend time researching the company and its structure to ensure you’re totally informed and comfortable, enter each conversation with a positive mindset and don’t be afraid to take tips or advice from sales leaders. We host regular webinars with industry experts passing on their knowledge for free – you can take a look here.
Call outside of the 9-5 hours
Let’s face it. On a busy day, an unexpected call can throw you off a little. So, if you’re calling high-level B2B decision-makers, it’s likely that they’ll be dealing with important tasks, be in a meeting, or even be out of the office.
Try calling before or after typical office hours, making it more difficult for the gatekeeper to say no and increase your chances of catching them at the right moment.
Discover their name — and use it
It’s vital to build a rapport with the gatekeeper and identifying their name is the all-important first step to doing so. Try asking the gatekeeper their name and then dropping it into conversation to deliver a friendly and personal approach. And, be sure to ask for decision-makers by name if you know it. If not, opt for their job title. This will enforce trust and help the gatekeeper see that this is an important call.
The don’ts of getting past the gatekeeper…
Don’t pitch to the gatekeeper
Remember, the gatekeeper isn’t the person you’re trying to sell your product or service to. You simply want them to trust you enough to connect you to the right person. So, whatever you do, don’t pitch to them! The last thing you want is for the gatekeeper to decide that your call is unimportant before you get the chance to pitch to the decision-maker.
Don’t burn bridges
The gatekeeper holds a lot of power — when you’re speaking to them, they should be the most important person to you at that moment. After all, they can directly impact whether you’re able to move the prospect through your sales pipeline.
Even if they can’t help you out, or are being a little difficult themselves, avoid being rude or cutting any ties. They can stop all future sales progress and even tarnish your name specifically within the business.
Don’t lie about who you are
This one’s pretty simple. Lying about who you are, exaggerating your relationship with the decision-maker, or refusing to provide any information to the gatekeeper isn’t going to get you anywhere.
Be honest and use your confident attitude, positive mindset and impressive understanding of the product you’re selling to prove to them that your call is valuable to their business and the decision-maker in question.
Don’t be generic
Data and insight play a key role in helping you elevate success. Conduct research to inform your conversations, invest in accurate data and innovative tech to fuel your approach with relevant and high-value information and do what you can to make your call stand out. Test out call approaches to see which one works best for you, discover the best time to make calls, and don’t be afraid to try something new.
Get past the gatekeeper with website visitor tracking
If someone has visited your site (and you know who they are), you know they’re interested in your product or service, which should make it much easier for you to make your case to the gate-keeper that your call is relevant.
Lead Forensics is an innovative B2B sales software that transforms your website into a hub of engaged sales leads. It works by utilizing intelligent reverse IP tracking software and a global leading database of business IP addresses to track your website visitors, reveal their identity and notify you in real-time.
Users are provided with the business name, contact details of key B2B decision-makers and detailed visitor journeys outlining the time spent on your site. This way, marketers and sales reps have everything they need to reach out to the right person, with the right information at the right time.