It’s no secret that most sales professionals intensely dislike dealing with gatekeepers. The reason is obvious – receptionists, administrative assistants or switchboard operators play a pivotal role in every organization. One of their biggest powers is to connect you with the right person who might be interested in buying your products or services. They control your access, thereby protecting a busy boss from unwanted intrusions and constant interruptions.
So, how can your sales team bypass the phone operator or turn the formidable guardian into a selling ally? It all depends on your approach, and here are a few examples:
Make It Personal
In most companies, assistants or receptionists do NOT get a lot of recognition. So, don’t regard them as faceless obstacles that have to be overcome. Treat them with the utmost respect, dignity and compassion. Use their name, ask them for help, make them feel important.
Don’t Try To Be Sneaky
Don’t try to manipulate the gatekeeper or use questionable tactics to get around her/him. This strategy may backfire and put you in an awkward situation…or maybe even cut off your chances of getting through to the person in charge.
Speak With Authority
One thing is for sure: every caller sounds pretty much the same. Therefore, you need to come across as a VIP with limited time. If you sound important, speak with authority, and project a great deal of assurance, he or she may be more likely to put you through. Any trace of uncertainty will damage your credibility and diminish your chances of sales success.
Never Sell To The Gatekeeper
When you are on the phone with a receptionist, there is no need to divulge more than necessary or go into a presentation. Why? Simply because you may involuntarily turn his or her into a decision-maker and end up losing the game.
Learn From The Gatekeeper
Assistants can be crucial to your information-gathering mission. Learn more about the receptionist, his or her department, recent trends, or some of the major issues the company is facing. Ask simple and non-intrusive questions about the decision-maker, their schedule, etc. You may even gain some insights into the psychological make-up of the person you are trying to reach.