You’ve done your research, planned your freight sales calls and now you’re ready to get started. However, there’s one obstacle in your way of speaking to shipping decision makers. This is called the Gatekeeper. It’s usually a personal assistant, secretary, receptionist or switchboard operator. It’s their job to prevent freight sales agents from getting direct access to the shipping decision maker.
You must speak to them, however. So, what do you do to get past the Gatekeeper? Here are 10 tips to bypass the Gatekeeper and land directly at the ear of the shipping decision maker:
- They’re Just Doing Their Job – Remember that the gatekeeper is not your enemy. They’re just doing their job. They have to do this with everybody that calls and by making them an enemy, you’re building a psychological barrier that will make it hard to get past.
- Sound Like A Senior Manager – You’ll always get treated better when people think you’re a manager, so make sure that you sound like one. No umms and ahhs. Speak slowly, clearly and confidently. Stay relaxed, calm and don’t give away too much at the beginning of your conversation with the gatekeeper.
- Gain Information From Them – Although the gatekeeper isn’t necessarily the person you want to speak to, they still have a wealth of knowledge. Make them feel important by asking them for information, and check with them that you have the right person to speak to.
- Don’t Sell To Them – While the gatekeeper does have certain ‘powers’ – such as the ability to allow you to talk to the shipping decision maker, they probably don’t have the power to make shipping decisions. So don’t pitch to them. You’ll find that you’re wasting your time, irritating them, and flushing your chances of talking to the right person down the drain.
- Engage With Them – Don’t evade the gatekeeper. It won’t work. Instead engage with them. Ask gentle questions but don’t probe. Be friendly and positive so that if you don’t get through to the shipping decision maker right away, they’ll assist you next time.
- Be At Ease With Them – The more nervous you sound, the less likely the gatekeeper will be at ease with you, and the harder you’ll find it to bypass them. Be relaxed and calm, take some deep breaths, stay confident and when you’re speaking to them, smile – it will come across.
- Plan For Them –Unless you’re a great actor, don’t script what you’re going to say. However, DO plan for the objections that the gate keeper may have.
- Word Control – Think about what words you’re saying. Your choice of words can have a huge impact on how you’re received.
- Answers… – You’ll almost certainly be asked some questions. Remember that your goal is to bypass the gatekeeper, not inform them, so talk about the decision maker on a first name basis, and explain that you’ve already made contact when you sent them information.
- Voicemail – Although not ideal, if you’ve tried a few times to get through and you haven’t yet, ask to leave a message on the decision maker’s voicemail.
Getting through to the decision maker isn’t always easy, so be prepared before you make the call. We all have our own personalities and techniques, but these tips are a good starting point to get to the ear of the shipping decision maker.