In order to make a successful sale, you need to close the deal with the key decision maker. Often, the big challenge when you’re hitting the phones in your IT marketing is reaching the key decision maker. Usually, you’ll need to get past at least one ‘gatekeeper’.
Know Thine Enemy
The gatekeeper is the enemy, right? After all, their job, at least partly, is to stop you reaching the key decision maker.
Actually, if that’s your attitude, then the enemy is more likely to be you. Stop seeing the gatekeeper as your enemy. They’re only doing their job. Instead of seeing them as an enemy, you should start to find getting past the gatekeeper, if not actually easy, at least easier.
The Value of the Gatekeeper’s Approval
If a gatekeeper is effective in his or her job, then you’re not the only one facing a challenge. The corollary of this is that when and if you manage to get past the gatekeeper, you’ll automatically be ahead of the pack.
If a truly skilled and experienced gatekeeper decides it’s okay to let your call through, then the key decision maker is likely to credit you with a lot more respect and authority. They’ll probably listen to your pitch more closely than if a seasoned gatekeeper hadn’t first been satisfied enough to put you through.
The Gatekeeper Knows
One way to really strengthen your IT marketing on telephone calls is to recognize the source of knowledge offered by the gatekeeper. This important person knows a lot about the decision maker’s work, schedule, and probably even likes and dislikes. You can ask simple questions to get valuable information from the gatekeeper. If you can turn the gatekeeper into an outright friend, you can have a powerful ally.
Befriend the Gatekeeper
This doesn’t mean creeping around, finding out where the gatekeeper hangs out and sharing drinks. This means use your skill, charm, and engaging telephone manner to help the gatekeeper see your calls as welcome, rather than annoying. Trust me, it is possible to do this, albeit not necessarily in every case. Some gatekeepers are immune! Others, however, may respond to a great telephone voice, a winning sense of humor, or even just lucky timing.
Don’t Try to Sell to the Gatekeeper
Remember, the gatekeeper’s job is to stop callers like you getting through to the decision maker. They’re not in a position to buy what you’re selling. They’re more likely to be very busy and wishing they could just get you off the phone. And you do not want to annoy them.
Make it a Bone Fide Business Call
Finally, work on the basis that the gatekeeper’s job is to make sure the decision maker only fields real business calls. It’s even better if the call is from someone the decision maker knows. Therefore, only use the decision maker’s first name. “Can I speak to Ellen, please?” sounds much more familiar than, “Can I speak to Ms. Green, please?”, and is much more likely to get through.
If the gatekeeper asks if Ellen is expecting your call, the answer is yes! “Yes, we need to discuss a document I sent earlier.” It’s not IT marketing, it’s just another important business call.