Strategies For Passing The Gate Keeper

By: Linda Richardson | 2003-04-17

In telemarketing, if a gatekeeper, without transferring me over to the decision maker, says that we should send information across via e-mail and then says that they will get back to us if there is any need, how do we as telemarketers handle it? It just seems to be the best way of avoiding things adopted by assistants or gatekeepers, right?

Try to establish rapport with the gatekeeper by getting his or her name. But before you send the information via email, acknowledge the objection and make a second effort to get to the decision maker by providing a benefit. However, to help you get through as you first ask to speak to the decision maker, be prepared to position a compelling need benefit statement based on your homework or the needs you anticipate your service addresses. You can also try to reach the decision maker at off hours such as early a.m., late in close of day, or lunch time.

If in spite of your preparation and use of a need benefit statement you get an objection, make a second effort saying you are happy to send x but then immediately position your desire to tailor what you send so it is relevant and ask to speak to "John Smith" or "Mary Choa" for a moment. If the gatekeeper declines because the client is on another line, in a meeting, etc., thank her and ask for a suggested time when you can call back. If he/she repeats his/her request for you to email the information, stay positive and appreciative and ask if you may gain some information from him or her so that you can tailor it. Ask 1 or 2 questions. Administrative Assistants are knowledgeable and can be very helpful in they feel respected and are asked for their help. They can provide data and they can help you gain access.

On the positive side, if you must send information, at least you have gotten an email address - it may be the assistant's vs. the decision maker but you have an indication of how the prospect's email addresses are structured. If you get the prospect's email address, your message is les likely to get filtered and your prospect will see it.

You can see if and when your email was opened and by whom by requesting a read receipt under your email options. Always remember that in a B2B scenario, it is your job to follow up. Call back and check with the prospect if what you sent was received and ask for feedback. Keep the email concise and include customer benefit. End with a suggested action step. When gatekeepers are in the picture, the best bet is to turn them into allies. Build rapport, thank him/her for their suggestion, and ask for his/her help. Use a dual strategy of phone and email.

About the Author: Linda Richardson: President and CEO of Richardson, training consultants to corporations, banks, and investment banks globally. Richardson has 110 professionals, 15 regional offices in the United States, and presence in London, Australia, Singapore, Latin America, and Asia. Clients of Richardson include KPMG, Federal Express, General Mills, Tiffany & Co., Dell Computer, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Citibank, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, and Kinko's. Visit