Getting past the gatekeeper is one of the toughest things about cold calling.
You make a dial, you hear no from the gatekeeper, you hang up, you rinse and repeat. After doing that 20 to 30 times, it really starts to wear down on a sales professional. But hopefully today, I’m gonna give you a couple of pointers that will help you get you around the gatekeeper.
#1 - You have to sound like someone that's important enough to get around the gatekeeper.
Most salespeople, when they call in, they sound like they’re customer service reps. “Hey, how’s it going? “Good afternoon, ma’am. “My name’s DJ. “Hope you’re doing well,” that doesn’t work. If you’re calling for Bob, Bob is the reason for your call. We’re not spending 20 minutes talking to Linda, the gatekeeper. So a quick little role play, when Linda picks up the phone, “Thanks for calling ABC company. “This is Linda. “How can I help you?” I say, “Linda, “It’s DJ. “I’m calling for Bob.” “Well, DJ. “Bob’s not available, okay?” Timeout, now what do we do? Oh my gosh. He’s not available, now I’m gonna start freaking out. I’m starting a conversation with the gatekeeper. No problem.
#2 - Point them to the fact you have an appointment.
“Oh, okay. “Well, I actually had an appointment with Bob “right now at 2PM EST. “He confirmed via calendar invite. “Could you just double check for me and see if maybe he’s got some time blocked out? Because he’s expecting my call.” What this will do is it will literally force that back into the gatekeeper. So the gatekeeper’s like, “Hey, he’s unavailable.” I’m punching that back into them and saying, “No, no, no, no. Linda, you go see if Bob’s available. “DJ’s calling.”
#3 - Don't leave the call empty handed.
And then the last one is that if the gatekeeper’s like, “Hey, no, he’s actually with a client, DJ. “It’s not you. “I can’t get you through to him, I’m sorry.” You have to know what your pivot’s gonna be. What is it that you’re going to say now to the gatekeeper so that that dial wasn’t completely wasted? When I’m coaching in a big sales center where there’s a lot of like B2C or B2B businesses and they’re caught up on the gatekeeper, oftentimes I’ll see a sales person just completely walk away and not gain anything from their cold call.
The last thing you wanna do is say, “All right, I understand that, Linda, “Martha,” whatever her name is, Bill, that doesn’t matter. Maybe there’s a guy as the gatekeeper, but I need to get ahold of Bob. Would it be better for me to email him or shoot him a text message? And so I’m trying to gain an email address if I don’t have it or a cell phone number if I don’t have it. I want something as a consolation. Hey man, I’m the participation trophy generation. You gotta give me something for my call today, right?
And so I think if you can do those things, sound important enough to not have to deal with the gatekeeper, ask her to double check because it may just be a smoke screen. And then lastly, make sure that your call doesn’t just come up as a waste of time and actually get that consolation gift as you leave the call. If you do those three things, you’ll be better prepared and also skilled up to get past the gatekeeper on your next cold dial.
Here's to your success!
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