Sometimes, all it takes is to convince one person to close a deal. However, failing to impress that person can equate to a lost sale. In this article, I will be sharing tips on how to effectively deal with gatekeepers so that you can be in the best possible position to move sales forward.
Why Business Gatekeepers Exist
One of the biggest challenges in a sales position is getting past a gatekeeper who controls or influences decision-making, but they are there for a reason. Gatekeepers exist for businesses to prioritize and route communications with company outsiders as a way to limit access to decision-makers. Some executives simply don't have enough hours in a day to answer every phone call or meet with vendors. The gatekeeper, like a security guard, screens requests to essentially manage all of their traffic, which helps the company save time and be more productive.
How to Engage with Gatekeepers
Here are some useful tips on engaging with gatekeepers:
- Be Respectful - Don't try to be confrontational. Show them that you care about their professional opinions and perspectives and are interested in working with them to achieve their goals.
- Personalize the Experience - Spend some time getting to know them and talking to them about their interests. This will give you more insight into who they are, giving you the opportunity to personalize your approach.
- Be Professional - Consciously embrace business-friendly language. And when you get the chance to present your offerings, let them know that there is value for them in building a business relationship with you.
- Listen Carefully - One of the most important aspects of business communication that involves sales is to listen to the other person. Don't do all the talking. Allow for two-way communication. By showing them that you're listening, you will more likely win their trust or at least engage in further dialogue.
- Avoid Small Talk - Even though you don't want to come off as only caring about the sale, you need to limit small talk so you can spend more time on discussing your offerings. Besides, a busy manager doesn't have time to go on and on about the weather.
- Prepare Yourself with Research - The more you learn about the company, the better chance you have of making a positive first impression. Show them that you have a solid understanding of their business and how they work.
Build a Relationship with the Gatekeeper
The best thing you can do when meeting or connecting with a gatekeeper is to establish a relationship that allows for further conversations. You don't always need to close a deal in one meeting, and in many cases, it's better to ease into a business relationship before presenting a sales pitch.
Working with gatekeepers can be challenging for salespeople, but it doesn't have to be stressful. The key is to reach a common ground with them through personalization, listening, and engaging in a friendly, polite conversation.