By David Walter
When it comes to cold call sales, getting past the gatekeeper is the most important step. You can be the best salesperson in the world, but if you’re unable to get past the gatekeeper, your efforts are thwarted before you even get started.
Getting past the gatekeeper is so difficult that it’s caused people to stop prospecting entirely, and some even leave the profession, claiming that cold calling is dead simply because they couldn’t get beyond this stage. Others resort to the “snake oil salesman” approach where they deceive and scam the caller to get through.
This is not the approach to take.
With the seven tips that I’ve perfected and mastered you can instead compliment, distract and mirror and to get past the gatekeeper.
The mirroring technique has you mirror the person you’re calling with the aim of building rapport. When you ask how they are and they respond that they’re tired and haven’t had their morning coffee yet, you use this to start a conversation. You can respond by saying that you wish it was Friday or that you also are needing a cup of coffee. And just like that, you’ve built rapport and started a dialogue.
2. Give the person the upper hand
This technique is similar to the above but instead of mirroring, you are giving them a one-up. If they say they’re doing fantastic when you ask how they are, tell them that they’re doing much better than you are, and you want their secret. Give them the upper edge. If they say they’ve had their morning coffee, say that you still need yours. This friendly banter creates a way to move forward in the conversation.
Being playful with the person who answers the phone keeps the conversation light. If the person asks what the call is concerning, I like to jokingly say it’s a secret, and if I told them, I’d have to kill them. I laugh quickly and say it’s a joke, which builds instant rapport through laughter.
4. Have confidence in yourself
The most important technique is knowing that you are confident in your abilities. People can tell when a person is unsure of himself, so make sure that you are prepared and confident. You will speak with more certainty and get past the gatekeeper when you have the confidence in being able to do so.
5. Use foresight
I recommend sending mailers that indicate that the recipient should expect a follow-up call from you. That way when you call and the person who answers the call asks if the person to whom you are wanting to speak is expecting your call, you can say yes without hesitation.
6. Go negative
At the beginning of a call, ask if the person with whom you hope to speak has already gone for the day. By phrasing the question in this way, it seems like you know the prospect is busy and have an informed understanding. This simple form of reverse psychology creates an illusion that you know the prospect, which makes it easier to get past the gatekeeper.
7. Treat the person answering the phone like they are the decision maker
Most of the time, the person answering the phone is not the decision maker. But, by making your call recipients feel important, they will be surprised and will more than likely transfer the call.