Making Friends and Allies
When I was managing a sales team or interviewing a potential new team member, I would tell them that sales is one of the hardest jobs they’ll ever have and one of the easiest, it all depends on how they approach it.
Recently I have been coaching others in my profession who are in other parts of the country. Several struggle with getting through to the person who can say yes. It’s real easy to find people who can say no. One of them is the “gatekeeper”.
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Empowering the Gatekeeper
Do not bypass gatekeepers. Build alliances. Do not come down to their level. Come up to their level. You never know with whom you are talking. For all you know, the “secretary” is the owner.
Gatekeepers’ jobs are to push you away, but in the same respect it is their job to determine what might be a benefit for the company. Humanize with them. Make a joke. Have fun. Be respectful. Treat them like they are the owner.
And here’s an interesting idea — never ask for the person in charge. Assume they are the people in charge. Say you want to meet with them “and whoever else also makes the purchasing decisions.” There are two reasons here:
1) Who you think is in charge and who really is could be different people. By letting them say if they are or not, you will get the real answer;
2) At the same time, by respecting them and their importance, you are separating yourself from every other sales rep who tramples upon them with disrespect as they try to reach the decision-maker.
Source: Sales consultant/author Todd Natenberg