Article Do you know how to get past the gatekeeper and engage with the decision-makers? 0 2015 Life coaching Business coaching life coaching Lifecoachhub Pty Ltd LifeCoachHub
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How to Get Past the Gatekeeper in Sales

TAGS: coaching, life coaching, business coaching, coach, life coach, self help, personal development sales, rejection, sales letters, key decision makers, gatekeepers, corporations

How to get past gatekeeper in sales

The story about three souls

Once upon a time there was a little angel who was talking to a new soul, just about to be reborn. The angel said: "You will have a great childhood and make plenty of friends who will become very powerful over time. It is your goal not to let anybody near them. Your task in this life (should you accept it) is to keep as many people away from the powerful people so that they can't be harmed."

The little soul accepted the task and went on her way to be born.

She grew up to be a strong, emancipated and an amazing woman, and she started working for every single multinational and large corporation in the world. At the same time. (Yes, she is everywhere)

At the time this person was born, there was another soul just about to be born. The angel went to this soul saying, you will have a tough life. You will need to work hard to get where you want to be, but if you are persistant you will get there in the end. You will need to get past my friend over there who will make your life a living hell if you go anywhere near her or the people she is protecting. Your goal, should you accept it, is to get past her and find milk and honey flowing for you endlessly on the other side. 

Of course this little soul accepted the challenge as well and grew up to be a strong confident woman. Unlike the other soul, she has been trying to get into all the multinationals and large corporations in the entire world with no success. 

Both women are now in front of each other, going for a final show-down. But who will win?

But first, I have to tell you about the third person who was born at the same time. He got a secret mission too and it is the most interesting one of all:

This person was told that even though he would need to work hard, doors will always open for him. However, he can't use this gift for himself. He would need to share it with the world, tell people how to get past No 1 and help No 2 get in.

Let's face it, we've all come across someone who seems better or more fortunate than us, and we either want to get past this person or get rid of them. However, there is another option... 


Getting past the gatekeeper

And here it is, the secret of getting past any gatekeeper in the world, no matter where you are, what you do, if you follow those simple rules, doors will open for you. Maybe not every single one of them, but many will provide you with an opportunity to sit down and have coffee with the right decisionmaker. Are you ready to listen, implement and try? 

  1. First, list 100 companies that you would like to work with. If you already have some contacts in there, list them, anyone you know. If you don't, leave it blank. You need to know who is the CEO or your key decisionmaker (you can find most of them online). Find contact details (even basic ones like main reception), address details, website, email (stay away from info or generic email addresses)
  2. Create the most powerful sales letter in the world (I know, easier said than done, but there is plenty of resources out there and you can find lots of great examples). Be different, don't shy away from standing out. One thing though, put your picture on the letter. Somewhere on the top or the bottom. A nice smiling and inviting picture of yourself is worth gold. It will help people remember you and letters as well as business cards with a person showing are less likely to be thrown away. Address the letter to the main decision maker. If you don't know who that is, simply call the company and ask (Who is the HR Manager, who is the CEO, who is the x). Most of the time you will get a name. You don't need more, just this simple information. While you are talking to the first level of gatekeepers, ask for his/her name and contact details. 
  3. Ask the first level gatekeeper for advise on how to approach the company. (Don't do it at the same time when you ask for the name of the key decisionmaker. Wait a few days or even a week or 2 and call back). Be honest, say what you are looking to do with them and even if there is no need for your services, you would still like to send something over just for them to keep it in mind. Ask directly who to address this to. You may get "send it to me (rare)" but most of the time you will get a second level name (Assistant manager of HR or PA of x etc.) If you get, for example, the name of the PA (i.e. Ms. Murphy), but you know the name of the Director (Mr. Smith)... Do not address your correspondence to Mr. Smith. Send it directly to Ms. Murphy, addressing her by name, making your pitch and asking her for a meeting. Most people will try to get a meeting with Mr. Smith and she knows how to brush them off, but rarely do people ask Ms Murphy for a meeting. She will not know how to handle that and most likely agree to meet with you. (approximately 4 out of 10 will say yes to meet up). If you get the meeting straight away, go for it.
  4. In case you don't get the meeting with the PA or if you don't even get the name, send the letter, 5 - 10x a week. Not more. Keep it low so that you can manage the follow ups afterwards.
  5. Follow up with a phone call. Now, this is tricky, because you probably have to go back to the first gatekeeper to make sure the letter arrived. If this is the case, simply explain the content of the letter in 1 or 2 phrases (don't go on too long) and ask who you could talk to about that. She will most likely pass you on to an assistant manager or again a PA etc. 
  6. If you get passed onto the next "level," simply send a quick thank you email to the first gatekeeper for getting you in touch with Mr./Ms. X. You could take it a step further and send a handwritten card to her simply thanking her for helping you along. 
  7. Continue doing this with every gatekeeper, write down their name and contact details and simply thank them. When you move higher up in the ranks, you might want to consider small gifts as thank you gesture (definitely not bribes) and only once they pass you on to the next level. If you provide gifts before they do that, it will be seen as a bribe (no matter how small the gift) and may jeopardise your relationship with the business. 
  8. You could also arrange a meeting with the main receptionist just to talk to her about the best way to approach the business. This is well received by many businesses and even though a receptionist might not have the time to sit down with you, you can always ask if it would be ok to drop by to hand in some information and talk to her about that. 9 out of 10 will say yes, unless there is a security risk for the business. 

Impress the gatekeeper

A simple rule: Engage with the gatekeeper and make a good impression. They can become your most powerful ally and in many cases, although it may not seem this way, are asked by other employees and decision makers how you behaved towards them. If you are rude, ignore them or simply have not shown an interest to talk to them, then they will let others know about it and your chances to have a meeting with your key contact would be drilled down to nill. 

Be polite, always say what you want to achieve and ask for help. As people, we can't resist helping somebody who is in need. And always, send a little thank you note to the last level of gatekeepers once you moved on to the next level. Even if you don't get the business, say simply thank you for helping me out. This time I didn't get the appointment with Ms Murphy but I'm sure as we grow as a business and prove our high level of service to you, we will eventually get an appointment with you and your team members. I wish you all the best and should you or your organisation have any questions in relation to my business, please feel free to contact me.

End the note with a smiley saying: I will try again in 6 months time and hope you will be able to assist me again.

A simple note like that can work wonders and has got me in front of some key decisionmakers even after they said no, simply by doing things differently.

I hope this will work for you and I would love to hear your feedback of how you got on. 

Also check out:

The truth about building a coaching business

How to make your business stand out from the crowd

Coaching business plans: A quick template

How to set your life coaching fees

How to sell coaching services


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