Getting through the smoke screen
“May I ask what this is regarding?” is the standard gatekeeper question, and I believe it is a question that can be answered with with 2.5 answers.
Answer No. 1 would be the boring, “I sell advertising and I want to know if the boss wants to buy some.” That will get you no place.
Answer No. 2 is a more inventive. It states the benefits of ownership. “I want to talk to the boss about generating more leads for his sales team.”
The final answer is a cute or memorable one. You can start out boring and say, “It’s a business matter of a personal nature” or you can just say, “No, It’s a secret.” That one’s worked for me.
Once the gatekeeper asks that question, eight times out of 10 the call will not go through. You’ll be forwarded to someone else, you’ll be asked to send literature, or you’ll be politely refused.
Here’re a few things you can do to avoid the question in the first place. 1. Scour your local business newspaper or other business magazines for articles that you think will benefit the recipient of your call.
2. Scour your local paper or other business publications for a potential sales lead for the person or company you are trying to connect with. 3. Find something that was written about the company or the person you are trying to connect with. Print it out, mail it to your prospect with a Post-it note that says, “Nice article. I’d love to talk to you for 60 seconds.”
4. Prepare something of value for them. If you’re selling advertising time on television, for instance, make up a cool commercial in advance or a tape of the 10 best commercials of all time. Watch them together.
Never offer to save anyone money. This is one of the biggest mistakes salespeople make. They think that a message about saving someone money will entice them to pick up the phone. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Ever get a call at home from a long-distance phone company wanting to save you money? What do you do? You hang up. Saving money pisses people off. Earning more profit or increasing productivity will gain you the attention of any corporate executive.
The way to get a call through is to be intriguing, and to be perceived as a person who has something of value to say that is actually worth listening to.
If your message sounds like everybody else’s, you’ll get treated like everybody else, and your call won’t go through.
“What’s this in reference to?” is an opportunity, and a report card. The opportunity is for you to be creative and thereby get through on a higher percentage of your calls. The report card is that your call needs to be screened because you are not very well known in your industry or your community. Therefore, get known.
If Mel Gibson were on the phone, would they say, “What’s this in reference to, Mel?” Or would they get up, run into the boss’s office and scream, “Oh my God. It’s Mel!”
In sales, it’s not whom you know, it’s who knows you.
When someone says, “What is this in reference to?” it means that your call is being screened because they don’t know you. Your goal is to become known. Wouldn’t it be cool to say to the gatekeeper, “He’ll know what it is in reference to” or “Just tell him it’s Jeffrey on the phone. He’ll know.” Isn’t that more powerful than trying to make up some sales with a self-serving message?
GitBit: Want to get through and or get every call returned? Sure you do. Willing to do the hard work attached to it? Go to www.gitomer.com. Register if you’re a first-time user and enter the words GET THROUGH in the GitBit box.
President of Charlotte, N.C.-based Buy Gitomer, Jeffrey Gitomer gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.