Are you finding yourself blocked by gatekeepers more often than not? Getting past a gatekeeper during a call is a challenge for many sellers. This is a big problem as phone calls continue to be a top communication method for reps.
“Prospecting by telephone continues to be the most effective method of generating new business,” writes Mike Brooks for Sales Gravy. “It’s also the fastest path to get blocked by gatekeepers.” And research supports this. SalesFuel’s Voice of the Sales Rep study found that a top weakness for many sellers is the ability to connect with a real decision-maker.
Common reasons calls are blocked by gatekeepers
Sellers need to first understand the reasons that gatekeepers don’t move calls forward. Brooks highlights the most common issues surrounding a sales call that doesn't get far. First, he points out that many sellers fail to differentiate themselves from the others. The person on the other line likely fields countless calls from other vendors, and you’re getting nowhere because you aren’t making yourself stand out.
Accomplish this by treating each call as an opportunity to connect with the other person. This means even if they’re “just the gatekeeper.” “The way to stand out is to establish a personal connection, and there are simple ways you can do this,” writes Richard Forrest for Sales Pop. Treat the other person with kindness and curiosity; don’t just use them to get to the “right” person. “The most important thing to remember, when speaking with a gatekeeper, is that this is a real person who matters,” Forrest writes. “They’re more than just a barrier on your way to reaching someone more important.” You may be surprised at how much of an impact a little compassion and common courtesy can have.
Not being completely honest or telling lies to get your call forwarded is another reason you may be blocked by gatekeepers. “Ask any executive assistant and they will tell you how manipulative sales people can be when trying to connect with decision makers,” Brooks explains. “Sure, your ruse might work the first time but I can guarantee that any follow-up calls will be caught and blocked by the assistant you once fooled.” Plus, you risk damaging your company’s reputation and credibility with your lack of professionalism.
Instead, be honest. Introduce yourself and explain your reason for calling. As Brooks adds, “The best way to get an assistant to put your call through or get you on the decision maker’s calendar is to be straight with them, respect them and give them a valid reason.”
And as mentioned, allow for moments of connection where you build some rapport. This is something you can truly only do if you’re being genuine.
As SalesFuel has always advised, doing pre-call intelligence gathering is a must before any call. This means even those calls that you know a gatekeeper will answer. If you’re getting blocked by a gatekeeper, you may not have done enough research to demonstrate your value. SalesFuel recommends dropping details or information that lets the other person know you’re credible and offer value. As advised in another SalesFuel article, “offer up details during your conversation. Let the gatekeeper know how you can provide value to the boss and business. The ensuing conversation could even lead to the gatekeeper providing some insider insight."
Cam Karosis, a HubSpot Growth Specialist, even believes doing some research on the gatekeeper can be helpful. "If you know who your gatekeeper is ahead of time, check out their LinkedIn,” he suggests. Knowing even a little bit about them can help you start a connection sooner AND stand out.
These are only a few of the common reasons that calls get blocked by gatekeepers. The key to getting your call through is to be thoughtful about your interactions with the other person on the phone. If you are able to connect with them and make a good impression, chances are, you’ll reach the decision-maker you’re seeking. Avoid these mistakes, and you’ll find that gatekeepers can easily become your allies.
Photo by Yan Krukau