I taught a web seminar today which included a section on getting past the gatekeeper and I thought I would share some of my tips with you. To those of you not familiar with the term "gatekeeper" it refers to the person or assistant typically guarding the decision maker´s time. Often it´s the secretary or receptionist. The gatekeeper while a roadblock for many telemarketers is not the enemy. Like all of us, they´re merely doing their job ,which is to screen calls. Here are some tips to help make getting past the gatekeeper a bit easier"?¦
Make the gatekeeper your friend. The gatekeeper is a wealth of information so it´s best to get them on your side. Nothing puts them off more than having to guess who you are and why you´re calling. Most telemarketers make the mistake of trying to BS their way past the receptionist. This is always a no-no. The easiest way to get to the right person is to be honest. Tell them who you are and why you´re calling. But be brief. The conversation may go something like"?¦ "My name is____ and I´m calling ________ about the info I sent regarding________. Is he in? "
Be sure to ask if the decision maker is on vacation, at lunch or in a meeting or if there is a best time to reach them. This information will make it easier to reach the person in charge that much simpler.
Get proactive. Assuming that you wind up in voice mail (electronic gatekeeper) Hell and can´t reach anyone, there are a few things you can do to reach the right person. If you can get the gatekeeper on your side you may want to ask if the decision maker has e-mail, or a cell phone to send a message. If they won´t give it to you simply go to the firm´s web site and click "contact" to see if there is an e-mail listed. Often times the e-mail is posted there as a way to reach key execs directly.
Voice mail is still useful for something. Leave a message. Leave two. But don´t leave any more than two. Voice mail should be short. "This is _________calling for _________ . I was calling about the info I sent about__________ and I wanted to make sure you received it. You can reach me at_________.
Even if you haven´t sent info to the prospect, that´s okay because what happens next will be very telling. Let´s assume that you haven´t sent info but you get a return call from the prospect after leaving a message. Because they´ve returned the call, there might just be an interest. If they say they haven´t received the info, let them know you can get something out to them or you can leave something when you stop by. Here´s your chance to run with it. If they return the call saying they´ve received info and you know you never sent any, chances are they won´t book an appointment.
Faxing is fun. Faxing a short letter of introduction can be an effective way of reaching the decision maker. It should be in the form of "We´ve been trying to reach you". Very short, sweet and to the point.
Ask to speak with someone in the sales dept. Sales people love to talk, are helpful and are often a wealth of information. They can also steer you to a more appropriate person in the company and give you inside company secrets the assistant might not give you. This is also a good tip if you don´t have a contact name.
If you still can´t get to the right person, don´t worry. Move on to the next call, there are plenty more to make. Good Luck.
Tony Wilkins is the author of "Telemarketing Success for Small and Mid-sized Firms available in most bookstores and online at www.amazon.com and www.xlibris.com you may also find out about his workshops and services at
http://stores.ebay.com/telemarketing-success via e: mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 415-267-4872 .If you´d like to be notified of a new posting for this column ,please contact Tony Wilkins at email@example.com