PROSPECTING - HOW TO GET PAST THE GATE KEEPER
In our telephone prospecting workshops the question often comes up…"How do I get past the gatekeeper on the telephone to reach the hard to get to prospect?"
It’s a good question, because some prospects are more difficult to get to than others. So I have a few ideas for you that may help.
Just before I do though, may I make a few observations.
If a prospect is hard for you to get through to, then they are probably hard for other sales people to get through to as well. That’s good because if you can get through then you probably won’t have a lot of competition. So persistence could pay big dividends.
Some sales people don’t try very hard to get through to the decision maker. Instead they settle for someone further down the line. Someone who can’t make a decision but they will listen. That makes no sense to me, because it will be very hard to move up the line afterwards. Why speak with someone with no authority to make the decision. So when in doubt aim high.
So here are two ideas on getting through to the right person
Too many sales people call, speak to the receptionist and say something stupid like, “I’d like to speak with the person who looks after the purchasing of ‘widgets’". This usually signals to the receptionist – ‘watch-out, sales person, go into screening mode!'
Most receptionists and secretaries have been trained to screen calls, and in particular screen out sales people. So that approach will often stop a sales person dead in their tracks. You’ll face a barrage of questions like;
“Where are you calling from?”
“What do you want?”
“What are you selling?”
“Why don’t you just tell me and I’ll yell her and if she is interested she’ll call you back!”
“Why don’t you just send something by mail and if he’s interested he’ll get back to you.”
Any sales person who plays this silly game has only themself to blame for not progressing the sale.
So if you want to improve your chances of getting through So if you want to improve your chances of getting through...
Find out the name of the person you should speak to in advance, and then when you call, ask confidently for that person by name.
It’s your confidence and bravado that will get you through.
Will it work in 100% of cases? No but it’s much better than phoning and asking to be put through to the person who is responsible for “widgets.”
So how can you do this?
Phone the receptionist or secretary and say for example, “I would like to get some information to your IT Manager, may I ask his or her name please?”
(It’s true, you do want to get some information to them!!)
When you are asked who you are and where are you from, just tell them. Since you are not asking to be put through, you are likely to get a cooperative response and you’ll probably get the information you need. Actually you’ll be amazed how much extra information you can get now if you just ask.
Once you have this info thank them and hang up.
Do not ask to be put through now. Instead phone back in a few days time and ask confidently for the person by name. If they ask who is calling, just tell them your name and say, “Just tell him it’s …… ……… can you put me through please?”
Here’s another way to get that person’s name and possibly even get introduced to them.
Phone and ask the receptionist for the name of this company’s best sales person. If they ask who you are and what it’s about, tell them your name and tell them it’s a sales matter. (After all it is!)
Once you get though to this sales person, just tell them the truth. As one sales professional to another, ask them if they can help you with the name of the right person to speak to. If they are a true professional they will likely give you the person’s name. They may even offer to introduce you, or if they don’t, why not ask them if they can or at least put you through now.
Hope these ideas can help you. Prospecting is a very important part of selling. If you are good at it you can make your own luck.
We offer an on-line Sales Workshop on this that can be done from anywhere in the world.
Have a great week. Make it a great week!
Wayne Berry CSP *