As I’ve mentioned before, if you do not know how to get past the gatekeeper, you should not be making cold calls.
The strategy of calling the same company every day in the hope a tough gatekeeper will connect your call is like banging your head against a brick wall.
If it’s blatantly obvious you’re dealing with a highly skilled gatekeeper, change your approach.
I’ve tried, tested, and witnessed some crazy techniques for how to get past the gatekeeper during my time, but it’s often the simple or creative ones that work best.
Below I will share some of these with you.
1. Pay Attention to Detail
I’m often in disbelief at the lack of attention people pay to the resources and details available to them.
A thirty-second online search or a glance at the ‘About Us’ or ‘Contact Us’ pages on your prospect’s website can sometimes give you access to the direct number of your desired contact person.
And for heaven’s sake, if you have been in an email dialogue with your contact, check their email signature for their direct contact details.
2. Call When the Gatekeeper is Not There
Most gatekeepers work a standard shift such as 9 am to 5 pm and take their lunch at the same time every day.
You’ll find that calling early in the morning, late in the afternoon, early in the evening or during typical lunch hours can be the perfect time to avoid the gatekeeper.
3. Always Ask for a Direct Number
If you have already had a brief conversation face-to-face or via telephone or email with your contact, don’t forget to ask them what the best direct number is to reach them.
I also recommend asking gatekeepers for the direct number of your contact person too.
Most salespeople are too afraid for fear of being cheeky, but you’ll be surprised at how many times you get if you ask.
4. Avoid Sounding Like a Salesperson
I’ve already covered many of the basics in other posts, such as not introducing yourself in full when calling and being short and vague about what your call is regarding,
You must also avoid other cliché sales habits too.
Saying such things as “Hey, how are you doing today?” when you enter the call is one that automatically triggers the suspicious ‘what are you after’ signal.
5. Try the Wrong Number or Department
If you want to avoid the gatekeeper, don’t call the main switchboard. When possible, locate the number of specific departments such as accounts or technical support.
Next, call them, apologise, and say you’re not sure you reached the right department and tell them who you’re trying to reach.
It’s a simple technique with a very high success rate.
I would advise you to avoid trying sales or customer service departments.
Salespeople know exactly what you’re up to, and customer service representatives are always likely to transfer you back to the switchboard.
6. Leverage Email and Social Selling
Creating a consistent strategy for emailing, messaging and engaging your prospects on multiple social media platforms will eventually get you directly connected.
7. Get Referrals
Getting a personal referral from a mutual friend or acquaintance is the easiest route to direct contact.
Search your network for anyone who works at the same company as your contact person or knows someone who does.
Even if your buddy knows the kitchen assistant, it’s an excellent way to connect directly and avoid the gatekeeper.