Warming Up Cold Calling
Conventional sales wisdom suggests that you should use every effort to get past the so-called “gate keeper”, otherwise known as the receptionist/office manager, when calling on new accounts in order to reach the decision maker faster. Instead of following this short sighted advice, consider making a friend of this individual from the start of the process, and you just may find a long term who will save you time and increase your profits in the long run.
I do my best to read sales-based articles on a regular basis in order to keep myself sharp, and from time to time, I read something that gives me new insight into my profession.
Recently, I read article on a “Six Easy Techniques” for getting past the gate keeper and to the decision maker faster. The article went on to suggest that the gate keeper is an individual of no value, an obstacle to be overcome as quickly as possible. Sounds good on the surface – get to the decision make sooner, so you can move on to your next potential account. So why could this actually be short sighted advice? Let’s take a closer look at who this frustrating and negative person is anyway.
The “gate keeper” is usually a receptionist or office manager, who handles a variety of functions within the company you are calling on. In some companies, they are only answering phone calls and “receiving” guests at the door, but often, they have other responsibilities as well. These people handle a lot of the “stuff” that a busy owner no longer has the time to handle on top of their increasing work load. For those of you who have someone like this working for you in your business, you know they are usually a life saver!
Instead of spending your energies trying to bypass this individual, consider making them the entire focus of your first few sales calls. By acknowledging them and communicating silently that they are important enough to be part of your sales process, you will find that eventually you will create an ally in your efforts to reach the owner. If you take the advice that the article was offering, in the hopes of a fast connection and sale, you will only offend this individual and never enlist their help.
The sales professional communicates to the “gate keeper” that he or she understands their worth within the organization they are calling on, and respects them as a person. In turn, the gate keeper usually will help out the salesperson, which ultimately results in getting to see the decision maker faster. For example, when you’ve made a friend behind the desk, he or she will often offer information that can make your job simpler, “Good to see you again Nelson, how was your trip?” then she whispers, ”Next time come in around 7 AM, you’ll have a better chance catching him.”, The gate keeper will save you time by directing you towards the products or services that the owner needs, “Make sure you mention your stone repair services, I know that’s something he’s been looking for in a company.”
If handled correctly, this method can not only get your products or services the in front of the decision maker faster, but you are more likely to be presenting them only those goods or services they are interested in, thanks to the advice of the gate keeper. You’ll earn the decision maker’s respect by not wasting their time and by showing them you’ve done your homework.