The Gold Medal Guide to Getting Past the Gatekeeper!
If cold calling is a part of your ad sales prospecting process than you’ve likely run into the dreaded gatekeeper. A gatekeeper, if you’re unfamiliar, is usually the person or people you talk to before you get to the person you’d like to pitch to. This first line of defense is usually a receptionist or administrative assistant. If the gatekeeper can sniff out that you are trying to sell something they are usually going to make it as difficult as possible to reach your intended decision-maker. Believe it or not gatekeepers don’t have to be the enemy; in fact they can be a very useful ally in your sales quest. Gatekeepers typically work directly with the person you want to reach, so they are informed and are even sometimes as directly entrenched in what the company needs are as the decision maker. They are a direct line to the decision maker. They know the best times to reach them, they know if they’re in a good mood, and they know if the company is on the lookout for a new ad sales company.
Here are a few strategies for getting past the gatekeeper and into the gate. Firstly, do your research and find out who exactly you want to talk with. Asking for “the person who buys your advertising” will be an automatic red flag that you are a salesperson. Secondly, build rapport with the gatekeeper. Being rude does little to help your cause, if anything it will decrease your chances of connecting with the decision maker and will leave a bad impression of your company and product. Give a little information, but not too much. Giving them your name and the company name is usually sufficient; give more only if they ask for it. Gatekeepers usually can’t make decisions, so don’t feel obligated to sell them on your idea. Be natural, gatekeepers can weed out scripted sales pitches and will usually block access to the decision maker. Most importantly, be nice! You’ll be surprised how far it gets you!