When time is spent cold calling, it is likely that we are going to run up against a gatekeeper or two. Some of these gatekeepers will be very helpful and share information to help us get where we want to go. But others will seem to do everything they can do to shut us down. By improving our understanding of these difficult gatekeepers, we can improve our results while making cold calls.
The Gatekeepers Daily Job
The first step in understanding the gatekeeper is to understand their daily job. Whether the gatekeeper is a receptionist for an entire office or an executive assistant for a few individuals, their day is typically very hectic. And while everybody has a hectic day in some way or another, a gatekeeper’s hectic activity will include a barrage of incoming calls all day, everyday.
When you make your cold call and it is answered by the gatekeeper, it is important to realize that your call is part of this barrage and one of many calls that they will answer during the day. And not only are you one of many calls that the gatekeeper will have to field while performing other duties, you will likely be one of many sales people that are cold calling to try to get into the company. By being empathic to what is going on on the other end of the phone, you can begin to improve your skills at dealing with gatekeepers when making cold calls.
he Gatekeeper’s Main Objective
Now that we realize how chaotic life is for the gatekeeper, we need to stop to think about what the gatekeeper has been assigned in terms of one of their main objectives. Unfortunately for us sales people, most business people do not want to receive cold calls and in an attempt to eliminate those, they have put the gatekeeper in charge of keeping those pesky interruptions out.
You can usually tell when a gatekeeper has been asked to keep out sales people that are making cold calls, as they will typically ask a lot of questions, not give out any information, and can sometimes be difficult. In many cases, just as sales people use sales training to learn tactics to get into accounts, gatekeepers will be trained on using certain methodologies and tactics to keep cold callers out.
One of the main things to be aware of here is that some gatekeepers are simply trying to do their job and that is sometimes to keep you out. When this is the case, the harder you try to get in, the harder they are going to try to keep you out. And if you want the difficult gatekeeper to let you in, you are essentially trying to get them to take a break from working on one of their main objectives.
Sharing Your Understanding
Once we have a full understanding of where the gatekeeper is coming from, there are many different tactics that we can use when dealing with them. But one of the first things that we can do when we face a difficult gatekeeper is to share with them that we understand them. By letting them know that we understand that they get a lot of sales people making cold calls and that we understand that it is their job to keep them out, we can begin to build rapport and start to work together.