There is one thing that stands in between a salesperson and their prospect; a gatekeeper. You want to contact VPs or C-level executives, but have to cross their gatekeepers first. It can be daunting to be stopped before getting a chance to give the sales pitch you’ve worked so hard to produce.
That is a classic dilemma in today’s world of business. However, there are ways you can work your way around it. In this blog, we’ll be sharing our getting past the gatekeeper scripts to help you reach your prospects and potentially boost inside sales.
Who is a gatekeeper in business?
Gatekeepers are company personnel who determine if the person trying to get in touch is worth their boss’s time. They will intercept any approach made by sales reps for the decision-makers of their company. These individuals can be receptionists, interns, personal assistants, secretaries and even relatives or spouses.
Gatekeepers are typically not familiar with the organisation’s structure and pain points. But they are trained to keep sales calls, emails and other such communication at bay. So, it’s common to be let down even if your pitch might be a promising opportunity for the prospect’s business. Since gatekeepers are in a powerful position to stop you from going all the way through, you must adopt a strategic way of approaching them.
What is the gatekeeper’s mentality?
Gatekeepers will be your first point of contact whenever you try to get in touch with a lead within a business. It’s important to understand their mindset and try to reason accordingly. There are two main types of gatekeeper mentality:
|Concerned||They wish to understand the reason behind your email so they can forward your message to a suitable authority figure and possibly set up a meeting.|
|Following protocol||They have been clearly instructed to filter out all sales attempts. So, they will look for the tell-tale signs of a sales email and simply ignore it.|
Why is it important to win over the gatekeeper?
Gatekeepers have the authority to limit access to certain information and determine who can get in touch with the decision-makers of the company. Remember, you’re dealing with someone who arguably has the greatest say over whom your prospect does business with.
In a competitive industry, winning over the gatekeeper gives you an edge. In some cases, especially when you’re dealing with executive assistants, these individuals have real influence. If you can get them on your side, they can help you get through the door and even make negotiations easier for you.
The 8 steps to getting past the toughest gatekeepers (with scripts)
Getting past the gatekeeper is not an easy feat but it’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility either. Here are eight steps to help you get past even the toughest of gatekeepers and connect with your prospective clients:
1. Use a catchy subject line
Personalise your subject line so that your email doesn’t immediately read like a random sales approach. Keep it brief and give the gatekeeper a little snippet of what’s included in the email.
Subjects like ‘A quick question’ or ‘can you spare a few minutes’ have a good chance of being opened because it seems as though you’re engaging with someone you already know.
You can also name-drop in the subject line to get the gatekeeper interested. For example:
‘[Referrer name] suggested we have a quick chat.’
2. Use first names
People are likely to pay attention to what you have to say when you address them by their first name. Avoid using ambiguous greetings and write to the gatekeeper by starting the email with a simple,
‘Hi, [gatekeeper’s name].’
There’s a good chance that the gatekeeper will think the email is from someone they have a connection with.
3. Stay cheerful
Add a little charm to your email by projecting a cheerful, outgoing personality. Avoid sounding too robotic because that will likely put you on the blocked list. The key is to find the right balance between professionalism and friendliness. After the greeting, you can add a sentence or two to make it a friendly business email. For example:
‘I hope you’re enjoying your week.’
That said, it’s better to avoid humour as it can easily be misconstrued in writing. What may come off as a lighthearted joke in a social setting might not land well in a sales email.
4. Find a common interest and build rapport
While it’s essential to qualify your prospects, you must take the time to get to know the gatekeeper as well. This way you can build credibility and establish a foundation for a business relationship.
Take a genuine interest in them as a person and use it to your advantage in your email. For example:
‘I had a chance to read your latest LinkedIn post, I found it very insightful.’
You can briefly mention something about the post so it appears genuine. However, don’t go into too much detail and let it derail you from your primary purpose.
5. Be polite and respectful
Gatekeepers are human, just like everyone else. Remember to be respectful of their job and approach them with politeness. They are merely doing what they’re instructed to do by their superiors. They probably come across hundreds of pushy sales emails every day. Your email can stand out by keeping it polite and cordial. This will significantly improve your chances of getting in touch with your prospect. For example:
‘I’m [your name and position] from [company]. Would you be kind enough to put me in contact with the person in charge of [function]?’
6. Use your value statement
You might think it would be better to reserve all the sales talk for your prospect, but you need something to get you past the gatekeeper. Use your value statement to get their attention and open up the possibility for a continuing exchange. For example:
‘I’m writing to you because our company trains new hires to help businesses save time and money.’
7. Get a referral
Networking is an important aspect of being a sales leader. When you have links, you can use them to get closer to your prospects. Get a referral and use it to garner a genuine response from the gatekeeper. For example:
‘I was referred to you by [name of referrer] from [referrer’s company]. While I was working with him, he suggested that your business might be looking for a product like ours.’
8. Save your pitch for the prospect
You might get too excited and think about pitching your product to the gatekeeper, but you won’t grab their interest. If they notice the salesy tone in your email, you probably won’t hear back from them. Since they’re not the decision-makers and they probably have a lot on their plate, they won’t care for your offerings.
9. Use their knowledge
Another effective way to link with the gatekeeper is to let them know they’re in charge. They have a deeper understanding of how their company works. Use this to your advantage and ask them for advice. For example:
‘Will you be able to let [name of prospect] know that [your name] from [your company] reached out regarding [mention the business’s known pain points]?
And while I have you, let me know if there is a better way I can convey this information to him/her. It would mean a lot if you could share your input.’
What should I include in my research when preparing to email a company or organisation?
When preparing to reach out to your prospect’s company or organisation, be sure to research its background, industry trends and target market. Familiarise yourself with the role of the decision-maker and the gist of their responsibilities. This information will help you craft an insightful email with a compelling value proposition.
What are some common challenges in getting past the gatekeeper?
Some common challenges you might face while getting past the gatekeeper are:
- They lack the authority to deliver your message
- They are bound by strict rules to filter out cold emails no matter what
- You find no ground for establishing a connection
How can I make sure my email doesn’t get overlooked by the gatekeeper?
You can decrease your chances of getting ignored by the gatekeeper by following the scripts we’ve highlighted above. Emphasise making a genuine connection and avoid sounding like a salesperson. Save your sales techniques for the prospect but give the gatekeeper a little nugget to warrant a response.
The key to getting in touch with your prospects is knowing that you can’t simply bypass the gatekeeper. Instead of considering them as hurdles in your path, reinvent your approach and try to make a genuine connection with them. Using our getting past the gatekeeper scripts, you are likely to increase your success rate.
In order to find the most accurate and up-to-date contact information for leads, you need fullinfo. We update our databases every two weeks and help you get closer to decision-makers before your rivals. Get started today.
References & Further Reading
- How To Be A Successful Inside Sales Representative And Crush It
- How to Write Business Emails that Sound Friendly
- The Simple Guide To Sales Qualification Frameworks
- 15 Bad Habits That Make Salespeople Seem Pushy (And How to Correct Them)
- 9 B2B Sales Time Management Techniques Of Top Salespeople
- The Seven Defining Qualities Of A Good Sales Team Leader
- Seven Proactive Sales Techniques to Scale Your Sales Now