B2B sales isn’t for the easily discouraged. In a perfect world, you would dial a phone number and immediately connect with the decision maker who will compliment you on your perfectly delivered sales pitch and immediately agree to sign a multi-year contract with your company without negotiating the price.
In the real world, most sales start with getting past the gatekeeper, whether it’s a secretary or an employee whose job it is to screen or block the decision-makers from solicitations. Getting past the gatekeeper is one of the most important things B2B sales reps need to do to make a sale.
If you want to spend more time selling, try Spiro’s AI-powered sales automation CRM. And if you want to get past the gatekeeper, these five tips will help:
1. Treat them with respect
You need to understand something very important: the gatekeeper is not your enemy. Treat the gatekeeper with respect, even if they shut you down immediately. Sure, they might not let you through on your first call but if you get combative or defensive with them, you’re guaranteeing that they won’t let you through on your second or your third. Treat them like you’d want to be treated if you were in their shoes.
2. Tap them for important information
You can derive a lot of value from a gatekeeper since they not only have the keys to the kingdom, they know the map of how to get there. Ask questions about them, then questions about the company, and then questions about the decision maker. These will vary depending on what you’re selling, but you can get answers that will not only help you get an eventual conversation with the decision maker, but also prepare you for that conversation.
3. Be persistent
In the famous movie Wall Street, Bud Fox (played by Charlie Sheen) famously cold-calls finance titan Gordon Gekko’s office 59 days in a row before finally showing up at the office on his birthday with flowers for his secretary and a box of Cuban cigars for Gekko. The key is to keep trying, since statistics show that the overwhelming majority of salespeople give up too quickly. Spiro can also help you be more persistent by using technology to recommend when to call or email your prospects to maximize results.
4. Build a relationship
Investing time up front in building a relationship with a gatekeeper can pay off further down the line. If you actually take the time to get to know the gatekeeper, you might put yourself at an advantage over your competition, since most people won’t put in the investment. The key to building a relationship is to be upfront and (if you can pull it off) playful. If you’re trying to be manipulative or come off as disingenuous, the gatekeeper will see right through you and shut you down.
5. Avoid them altogether
Another way to get past the gatekeeper is to avoid them completely. These days, there’s no shortage of ways to connect with people, whether it’s on social platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or even Facebook. There’s also technology that allows you to track down people’s email addresses so you can contact them directly. And of course, the classic and most effective way to avoid the gatekeeper is to get a referral, which is pretty much the holy grail of sales.