Though they should never be seen as cold-calling obstacles, Receptionists and PAs are often the Gatekeeper, standing between you the Telemarketer and that all-important conversation with the Decision Maker. It is vital to remember that this person – besides holding key information about their boss – is used to the usual approach from telemarketers like you.
However, do not despair! The key is to get the gatekeeper on side, when they begin to believe that their boss actually will benefit from speaking with you, not only will you have access to the decision maker themselves, but any ‘inside information’ the Gatekeeper is happy to share directly with you, thus turning them in to an influencer.
Start on the right foot
You can’t put a price on good manners, right? And in this case it truly is invaluable. The Gatekeeper will be encouraged when they realise you value the job they are doing. Addressing them politely, using ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and an appropriate and pleasant tone of voice are small ways to show this.
Get on ‘first-name’ terms
If you can, ask the Gatekeeper for their name as early as possible and make sure you use it at least a couple of times in the conversation. Again, this shows the value you place in them and that you’re not regarding them as a barrier. Just remember to strike up the right balance, you don’t want to sound condescending.
Don’t try ‘sneaking past’
Instead of withholding details about you and the reason for your call, why not try starting with your full name and where you’re calling from. If the Gatekeeper then announces that you are being put through the Decision Maker’s voicemail, stop them and ask if there’s anyone else you can speak to, a better time to call back or a better way to contact them.
Remember your last conversation
If it’s not the first time you have spoken to the gatekeeper, it’s always very helpful to have notes about the circumstances of your last call, something you can work in to this opportunity. For instance, if they were very busy and had not time to talk the last time you called, you could open with something like:
“Hello there (Name), this is (Your Name), I spoke to you briefly on Monday. You were really up against it that day, how are things now?”.
Again, showing you value them will make the Gatekeeper more inclined to do the same for you.
Estadia’s Essential Telesales Skills course is a two-day open training session designed to give you the essential skills to convert more leads into appointments or sales by utilising an effective and proven sales process. Delegates will learn practical skills aimed at increasing confidence in telemarketing and effective skills in gatekeeper strategies and accessing decision makers. For more information on this course and a full breakdown click here.