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How to Consistently Get Around Gatekeepers When B2B Cold Calling

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How to Consistently Get Around Gatekeepers When B2B Cold Calling

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When B2B cold calling, you can spend up to 50% of your time dealing with gatekeepers. If you spend a little time to improve your knowledge and skills with how best to deal with the gatekeeper, you can immediately improve your sales effectiveness and we outline some tips for you in this sales training webinar video – How to Consistently Get Around Gatekeepers When B2B Cold Calling.

When B2B cold calling, you can spend up to 50% of your time dealing with gatekeepers. If you spend a little time to improve your knowledge and skills with how best to deal with the gatekeeper, you can immediately improve your sales effectiveness and we outline some tips for you in this sales training webinar video – How to Consistently Get Around Gatekeepers When B2B Cold Calling.

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How to Consistently Get Around Gatekeepers When B2B Cold Calling

  1. 1. How to Consistently Get Around Gatekeepers When Phone Prospecting Michael Halper Founder and CEO SalesScripter
  2. 2. What is this call in regards to?
  3. 3. We are not interested.
  4. 4. Send me your info.
  5. 5. You can spend up to 50% of your time talking with with gatekeepers. Gatekeepers Voicemail Prospect
  6. 6. Take the natural role of opposition based on conflicting interests.
  7. 7. There are small things that you can do to improve “Gatekeeper Relations”
  8. 8. Types of Gatekeepers Front-desk Receptionists • High level chaotic environment – Checking people in – Receiving packages – Answering phone calls • Knowledgeable about organizational details • High focus on screening – Assigned to keep callers out – Trained on how to keep sales people out
  9. 9. Types of Gatekeepers Switchboard Operators • Less chaotic environment – Only responsible for call routing • Limited organizational knowledge – Typically limited to information in directory • Low focus on screening – Only concerned with directing calls
  10. 10. Types of Gatekeepers Executive Assistants • Medium level chaotic environment – Typically busy but accessible for brief conversations • High level of knowledge – Organizational details – Current processes and systems – Current initiatives and challenges • Sometimes has influence and power • Medium focus on screening
  11. 11. Types of Gatekeepers Automated Phone Trees • Automated menu that answers in place of an live person – Press 1 for (list of departments) – Enter extension for your contact • Can sometimes be more difficult than a live gatekeeper • More common in large businesses – Fortune 500
  12. 12. Understanding the Gatekeeper “Seek first to understand in order to be understood.” Stephen Covey "Great Spirit – Grant that I may not criticize my neighbor until I have walked a mile in his moccasins” Lakota Sioux Praye
  13. 13. Understanding the Gatekeeper • A day in the life – Hectic – High volume calls and request – High volume of sales cold calls – Not completely satisfying work • One of their main objectives – Keep cold callers out – When you get in, they stand to get in trouble
  14. 14. Gatekeeper Tactics Enlist Their Help • Try to get the gatekeeper to shift from blocking to helping • Present yourself as lost and needing direction – “Maybe you can help me.” – “I am not really sure who…” – Speak with curiosity • Ask for advice – Organization – Process – Scheduling
  15. 15. Gatekeeper Tactics Treat Like a Prospect • Take a step back when notice resistance and begin to go through script or pitch “Actually, let me take a step back and tell you who I am and why I am calling.” • Redirect to your elevator pitch • Ask your pre-qualifying questions
  16. 16. Call Script
  17. 17. Gatekeeper Tactics Name Dropping • Internal contacts – “I spoke with Tom White in accounting and now I am trying to reach someone in HR.” – “I am planning on meeting with Tom White in accounting and before I do that, I would like to talk with someone in HR.” • External clients – “We work with LumberLift and helped them to decrease inventory costs.”
  18. 18. Gatekeeper Tactics Mention an Initiative • Mention a current project: – “I am calling to talk to him about the Renew Project.” – Can be found through research • Mention a generic project: – “I am calling to talk with her about the current project to decrease labor costs.” – Most businesses have similar projects going on
  19. 19. Gatekeeper Tactics Ask Probing Questions • Opportunity to extract valuable information • Will show respect and could be an opportunity to build rapport • Asking questions they to don’t know can help to get through them
  20. 20. Call Script
  21. 21. Gatekeeper Tactics Befriend the Gatekeeper • Catch and use the gatekeeper’s name • Focus on tonality – Smile – Laugh • Share that you understand – Understand the challenges – Know they get lots of sales people calling – Are responsible for screening calls
  22. 22. Gatekeeper Tactics Dealing With Automated Phone Tree • Goal is to get to a human being • Press “0” to get try to get to an operator • Enter guessed extension
  23. 23. Gatekeeper Tactics Avoid the Gatekeeper Altogether • Call at a off hours – Before 8:00 am – During the lunch hour – After 5:00 pm • Secure direct line info – Try to get direct line on first pass to avoid the gatekeeper on second pass – “I have XXX as her direct line, is that correct?”
  24. 24. Gatekeeper Tactics Don’t Take it Personally • It has nothing to do with you and who you are • Their rejection is toward your company and just the concept of letting someone in • They are just doing their job • They job is very difficult and unpleasant
  25. 25. Gatekeeper Objections • The gatekeeper’s job is to give you objections “What is the call in regards to.” “Is this a sales call?” “She does not take sales calls.” “They will not be interested in that.” “We are already using someone.” “Can you send me your information?” “You will need to send your info to our supplier line.” • Only a few different responses – Redirect to value statement – Redirect to qualifying questions – Disqualify
  26. 26. Call Script “What is this call in regards to?”
  27. 27. Call Script “Is this a sales call?”
  28. 28. Call Script “We are not interested.”
  29. 29. Call Script “We are not interested.”
  30. 30. Call Script “We already use someone for that.”
  31. 31. Call Script “We already use someone for that.”
  32. 32. Call Script “We already use someone for that.”
  33. 33. Call Script “Send me your information.”
  34. 34. Call Script “We are not looking to make and changes.”
  35. 35. Key Takeaways • You could spend up to or more than 50% of your time cold calling talking to gatekeepers • Many gatekeepers have an objective to keep cold callers out • By improving your ability to deal with gatekeepers, you can likely immediately improve your results • Gatekeepers often have a tremendous amount of knowledge and can be a good source of information • There are very easy to implement tactics that can help • Preparing for gatekeeper objections is a key step
  36. 36. What is SalesScripter? Cold Calling Objections Gatekeepers Sales Messaging Voicemail Qualifying Closing Sales Process Rapport Building Interest Cold Emailing Setting Appointments Building Credibility Call Cadence • Provides complete clarity for what a salesperson should do and say • Very practical and easy to understand / implement / adopt • Consultative selling approach • Many tactics are counterintuitive One Half - Sales Methodology
  37. 37. What is SalesScripter? Cold Calling Scripts Objection Responses Key Questions Marketing Tools Voicemail Scripts Meeting Scripts Cold Email Templates • Software platform that provides all the tools needed to execute the methodology • Campaign-based (buyer persona) structure • Makes it extremely easy to implement and reinforce the methodology One Half – Prospecting Platform Software Application
  38. 38. Complete Sales Training Solution Cold Calling Objections Gatekeepers Sales Messaging Voicemail Qualifying Closing Sales Process Rapport Building Interest Cold Emailing Setting Appointments Building Credibility Call Cadence Methodology Salesperson Manager Cold Calling Scripts Objection Responses Key Questions Marketing Tools Voicemail Scripts Meeting Scripts Cold Email Templates Software PlatformResources and Services Books Training Videos One-on-One Coaching Sales Consulting Live Training Completely Aligned
  39. 39. If You Want More Help • https://www.youtube.com/user/LaunchPadSol • Or search Sales Scripter • Over 130 videos • Sales Prospecting 101 Training Program • Webinars • Sales Tips • SalesScripter demo videos • Subscribe Go to Our YouTube Channel
  40. 40. If You Want More Help • Five ebooks – Found at https://salesscripter.com/ebooks/ – Do’s and Don’ts of Cold Calling – How to Get around Cold Call Objections – How to Build a Value Proposition that Generates Leads – How to Build Sales Campaigns that Sell – How to Build Email Drip Campaigns that Convert Sales • The Cold Calling Equation – PROBLEM SOLVED – Found at http://www.amazon.com/The-Cold- Calling-Equation-Problem/dp/1468173545 Check Out Our Books
  41. 41. If You Want More Help Sales Coaching and Sales Consulting • 2 or 5 hour blocks of one-on-one coaching • Weekly 30 minutes one-on-one coaching sessions • Weekly 1 hour one-on-one coaching sessions • Weekly Unlimited one-on-one coaching session • Weekly 1 hour group coaching sessions Contact us if interested – info@salesscripter.com
  42. 42. If You Want More Help 10 Week Sales Prospecting Mastery Training Program • Meet virtually 1 hour per week • Content includes weekly tasks for each participant to perform between classes • Course modules include: – Building Campaign Coordinates – Identifying Your Value – Identifying Your Pain – Building Your Qualifying Questions – Building Rapport, Interest, and Credibility – Mapping Your Ideal Sales Process – How to Cold Call – How to Use Voicemail as a Sales Tool – How to Deal With Objections – How to Get Around Gatekeepers – How to Be a Better Closer – Improving Mental Strength $399 per participant Contact us if interested – info@salesscripter.com
  43. 43. If You Want More Help • Build your scripts and campaigns – Call scripts – Email templates – Voicemail Scripts – Objection responses – Key Questions – And more • $49 per month / $29 per month with annual subscription – 30 Day Money Back Guarantee Sign up for SalesScripter
  44. 44. Questions? Michael Halper Founder and CEO SalesScripter mhalper@salesscripter.com www.salesscripter.com

Hinweis der Redaktion

  • Let’s talk a little bit about some different types of gatekeepers that you will have to deal with.

    This is front desk receptionist than answers a business’ main phone number. To picture this type of gatekeeper, this is someone that will be sitting at the desk that is in the lobby of an office or headquarters of a business and the will do different things like check in guests, receive packages, and answer incoming calls.

    As you can tell from that list, these people have very hectic and busy jobs so it can often be tough to talk to them for too long and you will probably notice them put you on hold and be a bit rushed sometimes when you talk to them.

    It is helpful to keep in mind that these gatekeepers can often have a decent level of knowledge on the of the organizational structure and who does what as they often have to get visitors and guests going in the right direction.

    And this type of gatekeeper will often be more focused on screening you out than other gatekeepers as they have often been instructed to keep sales calls out and have sometimes even received training on how to best do that.

  • Another gatekeeper type is the switchboard operator. This person is similar to the front-desk receptionist as they will often answer the main phone number, but they are usually operating in a back office somewhere and all they do is answer and route calls. Since they have a little less going on then a front desk receptionist, they are a little more available as it is a little less of a chaotic environment.

    Unfortunately, while this gatekeeper is a little easier to talk to, they will usually have very little organizational knowledge and usually only has the information that they are able to access in a corporate directory.

    They will also be less likely to try hard to screen you out as their job is to connect you with who you are trying to reach.
  • You are also likely to run into gatekeepers that are executive assistants. These are individuals that sit next to the office of an executive or department head and they will typically support a number of different people from an administrative support standpoint. One of their key functions will be to answer the phone for senior managers and when you cold call at that level, you will often talk to people in this role.

    Their environment can be somewhat chaotic with supporting a number of people, but usually not too bad, meaning if you get one on the phone, you can likely talk to them for a few minutes without causing a major disruption. The other key thing with this type is that they usually have extensive knowledge of the organization and business details, knowledge of current processes, systems, challenges, and initiatives. So they really can be a great resource for information. They also can often have some level of power and influence so it can be good to stay on their good side.

    This type of gatekeeper will be cognizant of the need to do screening and not letting everybody through, but they can often be a little different than a front-desk receptionist. They will sometimes ask you questions and try to learn more before trying to shut you down.
  • And the last type of gatekeeper is the automated phone tree. This is the automated menu that answers your call in place of a live person.

    This is clearly a gatekeeper as it stands in your way and they sometimes be more difficult to get through than a live gatekeeper.

    These are getting more common when calling into very large businesses.
  • Those are the gatekeepers that you are going to face. And the next step that we are going to take is to focus on improving our understanding of the gatekeeper.

    This comes from one of the 7 habits of highly effective people, written by the late Dr. Stehpen Covey, called seek first to understand in order to be understood. It is a great tactic to use when facing an adversary and we won’t go into a full explanation on that concept, other than to say that we clearly want to be understood by gatekeepers as we want them to know why it makes sense to let us in. So in order to help instigate that direction, we will work to try to understand them.

    This can not only help us to know how best to deal with them, but when we show them that we understand them, we can stand to build rapport and decrease their guard.

    And here is a great quote to start the process of trying to understand, Great Spirit – Grant that I may not criticize my neighbor until I have walked a mile in his moccasins.

    When we get frustrated with a gatekeeper when they are rude and difficult, this can be a result of us not really understanding them and walking a mile in their shoes.
  • To help us to understand the gatekeeper more, let’s look at a day in the life for them.

    First of all, as we mentioned earlier, many gatekeepers work in very hectic environments. They usually have to deal with a steady flow of internal and external calls and request. And a major portion of their calls that they answer are from sales people that are cold calling and trying to get in to sell something.

    And most gatekeepers that you reach might not be completely happy with their position. This might not pertain to executive assistants as those positions can actually become fairly senior and offer decent compensation, but most people do set out a plan at an early age to become a switchboard operator or a front desk receptionist.

    The other key thing to focus on when trying to understand gatekeepers is that they often have been given the clear objective of keeping out cold calls from sales people. Business owners and managers may tell a gatekeeper that it doesn’t matter who they are and what they say, keep out a call from someone who appears to be trying to sell something.

    So when they are being difficult and not letting you in, they are actually just following orders and trying to do what they have been told. And if when you get through to a target prospect and that prospect did not want your call, the gatekeeper could get in trouble for not doing their job.


  • Alright, so let’s get to some tactics to deal with these gatekeepers.

    The first approach is to try to enlist their help in getting you to where you want to and try to get them to shift from blocking to helping.

    I know, easier said than done and this might not work with very difficult gatekeepers, but this can be the tactic to try first. It begins with presenting yourself as lost and needing help to get going in the right direction. Using language like, “Maybe you can help me here.” and “I am not really sure who I need to connect with.” you can sometimes create a scenario that invites more help from the gatekeeper.

    Part of the execution here is talking with a tonality that has a mix of lost and curiosity. To help with this, try talking with a puzzled look on your face when on the phone with a gatekeeper.

    The other thing that you can do is just very directly ask for advice from the gatekeeper on how to best engage or get around the organization, what process would work best, or how to best get time on the target prospect’s calendar
  • The next tactic is to treat the gatekeeper as if they were the target prospect. For the most part, you will want to tell the gatekeeper very little about who you are and why you are calling, but when you sense either resistance on the gatekeeper’s side, or they are confused about where to send you, it can often be productive to shift toward talking to the gatekeeper as though they are actually the prospect and go through your script or pitch.

    A way to do this is to say something like “Actually, let me take a step back and tell you who I am and why I am calling.” From there you can go on communicate the value that you have to offer and try to educate them on why someone on their side would want to talk with you.

    Not only can this tactic sell the gatekeeper on why to let you in, but it can also sometimes help them to figure out who it makes most sense for you to talk to.
  • When a gatekeeper answers your call, he or she is instantly trying to screen you out and determine if you are a friend or a foe. A friend would be someone who is already connected with the company in someway like a current vendor or business partner and a foe would be someone who is an outsider trying to get in, like one of those cold callers that is calling to try to get in and sell something.

    What we want to do is try to get the gatekeeper to see us as a friend so they will less likely to screen us out and one very easy way to do that is to use a tactic of name dropping.

    For example, we can say something like, I spoke with Tom White in accounting and now I am trying to reach someone in HR. This presents the image that we are already engaged and not a complete outsider and this minor tweak can often be the difference in the gatekeeper letting you in.

    And if we have not met with Tom White in accounting, we could still name drop his name by saying something like, I am planning on meeting with Tom White in accounting and before I do that, I would like with someone in HR.” Nothing misleading there as we likely are planning on meeting with Tom at some point and by sharing his name and our plans, we give off the image as we are not a complete outsider.

    We can also name drop external clients that we work with to establish some level of credibility. That is not going to be as strong as sharing internal names and is probably only going to really help when talking with more senior gatekeepers like executive assistants.




  • A tactic similar to name dropping is mentioning an initiative going on to the gatekeeper to show that you are in the loop and it would be ok to let you in. You can mention an specific project if you are aware of something that is going on. For example, when you maybe run into some resistance, you may say “Oh yes, I am calling to talk to him about the Renew Project.

    The way you might find out about different initiatives or projects going is that it may be uncovered when talking to different people in the organization and or you can sometimes find one by performing some research online.

    If you are unaware of an initiative, there are some that are fairly generic that just about every business has like cutting cost, decreasing labor costs, improving marketing, increasing revenue, etc. Odds are, if you are fairly vague in the initiative that you mention, you will either share something that they have or at least sound like you are on the inside to the gatekeeper.
  • One very effective tactic to use to is to ask the gatekeeper some probing questions. If you have identified some qualifying questions that you plan to ask the target prospect that you are trying to get to, those can also be great to use with the gatekeeper.

    We will demonstrate this when we show you how to respond to objections later in this training.

    But this is one of your best tactics as this can help to keep the call going and could create an opportunity for you to get some of that valuable information that the gatekeeper has

    The other thing this will do is it will show the gatekeeper that you respect them and that can help to build the level of rapport between you.

    And the last key thing that this can do is that if they do not know the answer to the question that you are asking, that may create an opportunity or reason for them to let you through if they are presenting you with resistance.
  • Of course, it can always help to befriend the gatekeepers and get them on your side. This does not work every time but there are clear things that you can do to become more friendly with gatekeepers overall.

    One small thing to incorporate to help with this is to catch and use the gatekeeper’s name when possible. Not a bad idea to add their name to your CRM or notes so that you can talk to them on a first name basis when you call back.

    The other thing that you can focus on is using very friendly tonality. It is likely that you might not be completely enjoying yourself when cold calling and this may come through in your voice when talking with a gatekeeper and this can have an impact on their willingness to help. But if you shift your tonality to sound more friendly you can warm them up and over a large sample of calls, this can clearly impact your results. A couple very easy things to help with this, smile when you talk as that will change how you sound and also laugh and be playful.

    The other thing that you can do when you completely run up against a wall where a gatekeeper is being completely difficult and there is nothing that you can do to change that, you can tell them that understand them and understand the challenges of their job. This could be last attempt to get them to loosen up and try to take a step toward getting on the same side.
  • Unfortunately, dealing with the automated phone trees can sometimes be just as or more difficult than dealing with the live gatekeepers. The main tactic to try when you have to go through one of these is to try to get to a human being as quickly as possible.

    Some systems will directed you to an operator or switchboard if you press 0 or if you say “operator”.

    If that does not work, one tactic is to enter a random set digits to try to get to somebody’s desk. Of course, the person you reach will likely not be anywhere close to the person that you are trying to reach, but they may be able to point you in the right direction
  • One tactic is to try to avoid the gatekeeper altogether when cold calling.

    One way to do this is to call when they are often away from their desk or not in the office. When you are calling executives or a senior manager level, calling before 8, during the lunch hour, and after 5 can sometimes be good times with the target prospects that have executive assistants sometimes answer their own phone.

    Another way to avoid the gatekeeper is by working to secure direct lines phone numbers of prospect when you only have main switchboard phone numbers so that you can bypass the gatekeeper on your next pass. One way to do this is when talking with a gatekeeper about a certain contact, you can say give them an random extension or phone and ask them if that is the correct line to reach them on if you call back. If you ask it right, they will correct you and give you the phone number and then you can call the prospect directly on your next pass.
  • The last tactic and it is actually more of an internal tactic that something that you say or do, is to always remember to not take anything the gatekeeper says or does personally.

    This is worth keeping in mind because it is very easy to take it personally when a gatekeeper is rude or rejects our call attempt. We can feel like they are attacking us and not accepting us for who we are and this can make be very frustrating if you don’t have the right perspective.

    The reality is that the gatekeeper does not know who you are or anything about you, so when they are being difficult, it has nothing to do with you. It is more about the company that you represent or maybe not even that and more just about the concept of letting someone in at all.

    You always have to keep in mind that they are just doing their job and what they have been instructed to do.

    And when they are being somewhat ugly, keep in mind that their job can often be difficult and unpleasant, and that can feed into the way they treat salespeople that call in like you.
  • Along with having those tactics in our playbook, we need to be prepared for the objections that the gatekeeper will say to shut us down and get rid of us. Here are a few that you are very likely to face and that we will go through one at a time with how to respond.

    As we go through these, note that each objection can be handled in very similar ways and there are only really three different types of response that we need to remember and use. We can redirect to the value statement, redirect to the qualifying questions, or we can disqualify the prospect. We will show you how that works on the next slides.

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