Image by: Samantha Celera
By Charles Lewis
Ah, the sales call … an art unto itself. One of the classic business scenarios is also one of the toughest skills to master. Not everyone can be a salesperson. In fact, a lot of people can’t do it – they just aren’t cut out for it.
Entire lines of work and legions of sales professionals are dedicated to the dark art of sales. There are schools of thought and parades of gurus to show you the way to riches if you just use their amazing sales techniques. That’s all fine and dandy, but what everybody really should be focusing on is “The Gatekeeper,” and how you are going to get past him or her.
They are pros, after all, and some of them are amazingly stubborn and tough to crack. They are super-skilled at weeding out the toads from the princes. And you are a prince who must convince The Gatekeeper that you are not a toad.
The Gatekeeper Is Just Doing Their Job (Like You)
The Gatekeeper is supposed to protect The Boss from people like you – people that want to sell The Boss something. Nothing personal, it just comes down to the fact that The Boss doesn’t have enough time in the week to personally speak to every person that calls him. You know, time management. So the perceived toads get kicked to the side.
But you’re no toad – you are a prince. A prince with a product or service that will truly benefit The Boss, if only you could get past The Gatekeeper, who still thinks you’re a toad. But you don’t give up. You are crafty. You are slick. You are a sales prince that won’t take no for answer.
And you’ll be all those things and more if you follow these two tips for getting past the person who answers the phone and into a conversation with the person who can fill out a purchase order.
Come In Strong
The Gatekeeper needs to think that you, the caller, is a few pay grades above them. We’re talking full-blown VP or CEO importance here. How do you achieve this? You need to sound a bit older … if you aren’t an old man already. You also need to talk to the person who is answering the phone as if they are wasting your valuable time, that even the call is beneath you.
Your sentences should be short, with no small talk. All business in the front and in the back. But all in a professional manner, of course. Pull this off properly and The Gatekeeper will show you the world. At worst, this will give you a leg up on the available appointments. At best, you will be swapping fishing stories with the boss as he laps up your proposal.
Try The “First Name Trick”
No doubt, the person answering the phone receives calls from friends of The Boss all day long. And those friends who call regularly expect a direct send to The Boss, unless he’s on another line. Think of how a friend of The Boss would speak to The Gatekeeper and emulate that.
“Yeah is Mike available … thanks?” And if they don’t connect you immediately, add, “Yeah, this is Steve.”
When The Gatekeeper has a lot going on, this can usually get you through the gate. Be prepared, however, for The Gatekeeper to query, “Steve who?” Whatever you do, don’t lie. DO NOT LIE TO THE GATEKEEPER. EVER. Say your full name and what company you are with. Explain that you didn’t mean any offense, you are just a first-name basis kind of guy.