In this episode, Paul shares five tips to get past gatekeepers. As always, you’ll need to create value.
How on earth could a candy dish create so much value?
Build that rapport and get to know the person in front of the gate.
The gatekeeper has to be convinced of your expertise before they recommend a meeting.
What is the easiest way to get past the gatekeeper? R – – – – – – – -.
How can one shoe open the door to a meeting? Check out the show and you’ll see.
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How do I get past gatekeepers?
(Transcribed from podcast)
On today’s episode, we actually had a question come to me via LinkedIn. So you can send me a question any way you choose. You can go through LinkedIn. Just connect with me—Paul Reilly. And then also you can visit TheQandASalesPodcast.com. That’s going to be the easiest way to remember: TheQandASalesPodcast.com. Make sure you spell that word and. It’s not the, I think it’s called an ampersand or something—that symbol—that’s not how you get to the website. Make sure you spell the word—TheQandASalesPodcast.com.
Enough of that. Let’s get down to the question. This seller reached out to me and said, “Hey, I’m in a new role within my company, and I’m trying to get past these gatekeepers.” Gatekeepers have been really causing him some trouble lately. So that’s what we’re going to focus on in today’s show is how do we get past gatekeepers.
Before we do that, let’s give a quick shout-out over to Andrea over at The Creative Impostor Studios. You’ve heard me say it several times on the show, Andrea and her team do a wonderful job. The Creative Impostor Studios—that’s your go-to resource for starting a podcast, launching a podcast, or keeping your podcast going. So reach out to her. We’re going to have a link to her website on this episode’s webpage.
Also pick up your latest edition of Value-Added Selling. We have a whole section on setting appointments: tips, ideas. And we’re going to talk about some of those today. So check that out. It’s available wherever you get your books.
Let’s get back to that question: How do you get past the gatekeeper?
Number one: Let’s remember, we’ve got to build rapport with that gatekeeper. That’s something to keep in mind. We have to put ourselves in their position. We have to understand that their role, part of the role I should say, within the organization is guarding the time of those high-level decision makers. They want to make sure that anyone getting past them is going to be creating value for the organization, value for the person that they work for. Alright? So, remember to build rapport with them.
One example of this, I heard from salesperson in one of our recent training seminars, and it was actually a live seminar down in the great state of Texas. One of the sales leaders was talking about gatekeepers and how he was able to get past them. And in fact, he had kind of an interesting example. The gatekeeper always had a bowl of candy there at the front desk. And one thing he would do whenever he would stop by, he would always make sure he brought candy to fill that bowl. And I’m not talking about the cheap, hard candy—the stuff that nobody wants. Talking, the good stuff, your Snickers, M and M’s, whatever it might be, he would get the fun size and fill up that bowl. Now you think about that. Anyone in the organization who walks past who’s going to grab some of that candy, they get the good stuff. It makes the gatekeeper look good. And that’s what the salesperson was doing. That’s a great way to build some rapport. Little old-school technique, but old school still works.
Also number two: demonstrate your expertise. Remember, the gatekeeper is guarding the time of the individual you are trying to meet with. If they’re going to allow you to meet with that person, if they are going to make a recommendation or pass along the information, they need to believe that you are the expert. They need to believe that what you have is going to create value for them. So show them that you know what’s going on in their industry. Demonstrate your expertise by talking about what’s happening in their industry. Be able to explain why there is a pressing need for you to meet with that key decision maker on this very topic. You have to be able to demonstrate your expertise. Alright? That’s very important.
Third thing: get a referral. One of the easiest ways to open up any door is to get a referral. Find out how you’re connected to the person that you’re trying to meet with, get them to open up the door for you; get them to send a note. And if you have a referral, your likelihood of success is going to go get significantly higher. So look for a way to get a referral and to meet with that person.
You also can go around them. When I work with salespeople, I’m amazed at some of the clever ways that they’re able to connect with the people they’re trying to meet with. There was one example I can think of. This was several years ago. There was one seller in our training, and he found out that most of his information that he would share with his high-level decision maker was making it to the trash can, not to the high-level decision maker’s desk. And so his thought was, ‘I need to make it seem more personalized.’ So he put together a package, wrapped it like a gift. Because the gatekeeper, they’re not going to open up a gift. So he sent the package to his high-level decision maker. The high-level decision maker opened the box and in the box was a shoe—a brand new shoe, just one shoe. And there was a note attached to the shoe. It said, “Now that my foot is in the door, can I have a meeting?” The seller said he got a call back just a few minutes after the box was sent in.
That’s pretty powerful. That’s creative. And he was able to get that meeting. So he went directly to— he went around the gatekeeper by sending a personalized gift that. That was pretty clever. I always thought that was such a great example.
Also, it’s important to reach out to these key decision makers on social media sites like LinkedIn. When you’re able to connect with these individuals on LinkedIn, it increases your likelihood of getting a meeting, because you become more familiar to that buyer, to that key decision maker. So connect with them on LinkedIn. See how you’re connected to them. If you can leverage your network to gain a referral, that’s going to help.
And once you do connect with this individual, don’t start selling them right off the bat. Man, there’s nothing more annoying than when someone reaches out to you on LinkedIn, just under the premise that, “Hey, I just want to connect and add you to my network,” and then BAM, as soon as you accept it, they start selling you on anything and everything you never wanted. LinkedIn is about building familiarity. It’s about creating an image in the mind of the buyer. And you don’t want to be the salesperson that is constantly pushing your solution without creating any value. And that’s what we do when we send a LinkedIn request and then we try selling them stuff right away. So you want to avoid that.
You just want to connect with them. Look at what they’re into. Review their interests; review what they’re sharing, what they’re posting. Comment on it if you can add a little value to the conversation. And the more they see your name, the more likely they are to open up that door and meet with you.
So just a recap before we call it a day. If you’re trying to get past the gatekeeper, number one: build rapport with that gatekeeper.
Number two: be able to demonstrate your expertise. Remember, if they’re going to recommend you to go in and meet with that high-level decision maker, they need to believe that you’re going to be creating value for them.
Number three: get a referral. That’s going to be the easiest way to get that door open.
Number four: you can go around them and use the shoe example if you want, like that story I just told. So go around the gatekeeper. And to build on that, you need to go where your decision makers are: networking events, wherever it might be, conferences once those get back up and running. You’ve got to go where your key decision makers go.
And the final thing, tip number five: engage with them on social media. Connect to them on LinkedIn. By doing that, you’re going to help build familiarity.
Make it right big day.