Connecting with Ease: Getting Past the Gatekeeper
This is a true story about cold calling companies with Gatekeepers, using two separate strategies from great salespeople, combining them into one easy to use script.
The Just Summary:
Using “just” as a statement opener allows the listener to draw the conclusion that the statement is the only information needed. It should also communicate some type of previously held communication and that the information being presented is the only information the target will need when deciding to take the call. This should be apparent to both the prospect and the gatekeeper.
Some examples of this are:
“Just let him/her know it is (Name) with (Company).” “Just let him/her know it is a follow-up to the emails we have been sending to one another.” “Just let him/her know it is about tomorrow’s meeting.”
Think about the communication here. If I were giving you directions, I would attempt to make them simple. I would use words like “just” to describe events of notice. For example: “Just” over the hill, “just” across the bridge, “just” go down to the light and turn right.
By using “just,” this is more easily understood and assumptions can dictate the next action. What the listener hears is the above, however what they know they must do is the task of applying the accelerator and the break at the right intervals to arrive at the location. They must allow for proper use in accordance with all traffic laws. They must avoid accidents. They must remember the directions. They must be on the lookout for the points of reference to arrive at the location.
Explaining each of these steps to the driver allows them to assign a different level of attention and concern to the actions to follow. Things that were not at the top of mind now are and this allows for more opportunities to question or ponder the details. This is where someone can make an easier decision to avoid the steps necessary to complete the task.
Summarizing the goal allows for the listener to accomplish the goal with the least amount of information about the details of completion and with the path of least resistance for them.
The Conversation Ender:
Using a conversation ender allows the user to navigate in the “awkward arena.” It uses naturally trained social norms to conclude a conversation at a time that does not align with the goals of the Gatekeeper, therefore bypassing said goals. These goals include, but are not limited to: ending the conversation on their terms, transferring the call after following protocols, mitigating unwanted calls, protecting the time of TIPs (Trusted Industry Purchaser = Decision Maker), etc. The conversation ender uses the specific “Thank you/You’re Welcome” conversation to push the conversation to a close at a time that is most opportune for the caller.
Cordial conversational training has happened since “manners” were a focus in the Gatekeeper’s childhood. The response both the parent and the manager of the gatekeeper would ideally like to hear to a “Thank You” is simply, “You’re Welcome.” This exchange ends the conversation. The gatekeeper would then need to start a new conversation without an opening statement and would be in a position of authoritative inquisition. This is uncomfortable for most people, creating an awkward moment for the gatekeeper and leaving them with two options for continuing the conversation: 1. Comply with the request and find TIPs, or 2. Begin a new conversation under the terms described above.
If 1, you are in good shape. Be prepared for a return conversation probing you for more details (Although this happens roughly 20% of the time). Continue to use the “Just Summary and Conversation Ender” to end the conversation, creating the same awkward situation that moved the gatekeeper into needing to complete an action.
If 2, answer the new conversation questions following the “Just Summary and Conversation Ender” method to create an awkward situation that moved the Gatekeeper into needing to complete an action. This may need to happen several times. Stick to your guns. Summarize and end the conversation.
Example 1: (First use of Just Summary and Conversation Ender works) GK: Thank you for calling Prospect’s Business, how may I help you? BDE: I was wondering if __TIP__ was still around? GK: I can check. May I ask who is calling? BDE: Yes, just tell him (Name) with (Company). Thank you for asking. GK: You’re welcome. Please hold.
Example 2: (First Just Summary and Conversation Ender didn’t work) GK: Thank you for calling Prospect’s Business, how may I help you? BDE: I was wondering if __TIP__ was still in today? GK: I can check. May I ask who is calling? BDE: Yes, just tell him, (Name) with (Company). Thank you for asking. GK: You’re welcome. What is the purpose of the call? BDE: Oh, just let him know it’s in reference to his emails with (TIPs name). Thank you again for asking. GK: You’re welcome, but what about the emails do you need to discuss? BDE: Just let him know it was to schedule a time that worked to go over some of his concerns about his current priority list. I don’t mind holding while you track him down. Thank you for asking. GK: You’re welcome. Please hold.
This strategy is single handedly the top skill needed for getting past a Gatekeeper. It allows them to do their job of facilitating contact, and with the least amount of information needed to do so.
Try this, let me know how it goes.