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Have you incentivized a gatekeeper?

This is the ultimate question of the day.


I use 3 different contact sources (ZoomInfo, SalesIntel, and Slintel) and still manage to only get direct lines a good bit of the time.


With those direct lines, I end up getting those lovely Exec Assistants / Gatekeepers.


I'm on the verge of offering a Starbucks gift card or something if they get me through and I book a meeting.


Have you ever done this? If not, why? Or... how the HELL do you get through.

πŸ˜‚ Sales Humor
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14
funcoupons
WR Officer
+12
that's queen coups to u
I don't negotiate with terrorists.

When it comes to GKs, I don't sell to them and don't waste time buttering them up either. In some fields when prospects are limited, it might make sense to do this but in my industry when I literally have thousands and thousands of prospects to call, I'm not wasting my time with Jan at reception when I can call Bill the CFO directly at the business down the block.Β 

My strategies for avoiding the GKs other than direct lines:

- EmailΒ 

- Navigating the directory to find the DMs direct extension OR if it's not listed I'll try an extension of someone in sales or some random department and ask if they'll transfer me. "Oh I was trying to reach Bill, looks like some lines got crossed, mind transferring me over?" Most people won't ask questions.

- Calling outside of office hours, including during lunch time. Even if they don't usually have a directory option, an auto directory will often be set for times where a GK isn't present.Β 

If the GK really does stand in the way, when I call I'm polite and give as little information as possible. "Hi, it's funcoupons calling for Bob." I say it in a direct yet professional tone, as if I've called for Bob many times before. No company name or pitch. If they ask what it's regarding I'll say I'm following up on an email (as long as I've sent a cold email beforehand, I don't outright lie.) If they push harder I have no trouble saying I'd prefer to discuss it with them directly. In these cases I'll often get blocked by the most veteran GKs but I see no point in wasting time pitching a non DM who's going to tell me to kick rocks or email a general email address that nobody looks at anyway.Β 
UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
Along this same line, I like to see if I can get someone in C-Suite/Manager level to tell me 'who the contact is' and they'll often give you the right info because they're not good GKs themselves.Β 

Then when Karen answers you can say your usual "Hey I'm calling for Bob the Builder" (I give bare minimum, and never my name up front). Then when they say "Can I tell him/her who is calling" "Oh yeah, it's Mrs.TechSales" "With what company"Β  Β "X Company, You can tell him that (Manager Name) told me to give him a shout".Β 

I honestly always try to channel my inner 'kid calling mom at work' voice, like so nonchalant because I belong on this line. It typically catches GKs off guard because they're so prepared for the typical "Hey how are ya, This is Jeff with AT&T Calling. Is Bob available?"Β 
Stratifyz
Opinionated
+9
Business Development Rep
I’m so guilty of the β€œIs Bob available”. I don’t know why but it’s my first initial reaction. Rewiring my brain from some advice in here.
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
You had me at "I don't negotiate with terrorists"
Stratifyz
Opinionated
+9
Business Development Rep
Good insight here! I don't have the luxury of 1000s and I haven't had much luck with email either. I use your approach with the "following up on an email" and I typically get "well, if they were interested then you would've heard something" or "I'll tell them to check that out".Β 
funcoupons
WR Officer
+12
that's queen coups to u
In that case it's unlikely you're going to get through when talking to the GK, I'd explore ways to eliminate them from the equation entirely after getting that sort of answer.
Show 2 more replies
paddy
WR Officer
+11
Account Executive
Go to their headquarters, "accidentally" take one of the pens from reception, and call them a day later to report a theft. Now be honest with them when asked and own up to what you did. They will overlook the theft and appreciate the honesty.
Stratifyz
Opinionated
+9
Business Development Rep
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I should've known something like this was coming!

If you'll pay for my trips to Cali and back please be my guest :D
poweredbycaffeine
WR Lieutenant
+10
Bean Juice Drinker | Sales Savant
I love the word 'incentivized as opposed to 'bribe' in this scenario.

In a serious reply: Have you asked a GK what it takes to get past them? I tried it once and it didn't result in a meeting, but the response was funny. "Nothing, nothing can get by me."Β 
Stratifyz
Opinionated
+9
Business Development Rep
I'm a wordsmith, what can I say 😎

Probably can't say that too much though considering not a single email has converted to a booked meeting..

I'm ballsy enough to try this though - I'll let ya know how it goes!
paddy
WR Officer
+11
Account Executive
In all serious, this post should be titled "How to Fraternize with the Gatekeeper". Incentivizing sounds like bribing (which in that case if you've had success I'm curious to know lol) but the convo should be more centered around tricks to charm and persuade them to get you through.
Stratifyz
Opinionated
+9
Business Development Rep
Lmao! Some of them sound a little out of my age bracket. Might need to ask my grandma some tips on how people charm her.
TheSolicitorGeneral
Politicker
+7
Small Market AE
To hell with bribing them, their job is to answer phones, not be guard dogs.

I'm typically a nice guy, but some gatekeepers you have to be more authoritative and direct. Talk to the gatekeeper with the assumption that they're going to send you through because it's their job to. If they're just going to be a shit head and bulldog you, try and get a direct dial or email from marketing.
funcoupons
WR Officer
+12
that's queen coups to u
It's funny, sometimes it's the DM telling GKs to block calls, and in that case I can't blame them for just doing what was asked of them. But there are many cases where a GK is a total asshole, blocking you at every turn but then when you do get ahold of the DM they're super nice and happy to hear from you. Those GKs can fuck off. Stay in your lane.
Stratifyz
Opinionated
+9
Business Development Rep
I think I'm a standstill with these folks... like @funcouponsΒ mentioned. I feel like I have the ones who are told "if something gets by you, you're dead to me".
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+13
Senior Account Executive
If you have branded swag maybe drop that off but I wouldn't go further than that.Β 
Stratifyz
Opinionated
+9
Business Development Rep
Good thinking Fox! Have you ever used Sendoso / Alyce? This has been something on my radar as well.
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+13
Senior Account Executive
I have not but @IncognitoΒ might have some advice for ya.Β 
Show 2 more replies
sp
sparta
Good Citizen
Account Executive
Don't waste your time with Gandalf's.Β  Sparta goes around or through them.Β  Numerous options...email, calling a different lower level leader and ask to get transferred bc shit we dont know how to figure out their phone tree and I'm trying to get ahold of "Joe".Β  Β Or just be direct with GK and call the leader by his first name when asking for him in a very relaxed manner then say "thank you".

"Hey let me get to Joe, thank you."Β  or something like that.Β  It sort of ends the conversation with a statement and makes it seem like you talk to him regularly.Β 

If nothing else, MOVE ON.Β Β 
Stratifyz
Opinionated
+9
Business Development Rep
I think this is where I'm fuckin up... For some reason, I always wanted to say "Hey is Tom available? It's - from - following up from an email". That's probably why a lot of this happens the more I think about it.Β 
funcoupons
WR Officer
+12
that's queen coups to u
The less you say, the better.Β 
Show 1 more replies
Justatitle
Politicker
+11
Mid Market AE
This is a great question. They are so used to salespeople trying to get through to their manager/boss. A guy I worked with would ask how they were doing and of what he was calling about might be something their boss was potentially evaluating. It worked from time to time as well
Stratifyz
Opinionated
+9
Business Development Rep
This is pretty solid... it's pretty common in my space for these leaders to be evaluating things. Stealing this one - you da best!
GDO
Politicker
+7
BDM
Never bribed a gate keeper
Stratifyz
Opinionated
+9
Business Development Rep
I haven't either but that'll be damn if it hasn't been thought here recently.

Especially when I'm certain that what I'm bringing to the conversation is at least worth 2 minutes of their time.

I never understood the "I don't have time for this" stuff. I know damn well that everyone has some time - but it's also the most precious resource I suppose.
Lambda
Politicker
+6
Sales Consultant
Depends on the GK, if you think the target is a big fish then you need to become ingrained in the entire org, thats my opinion, if its a small widget of a sale, might not be worth the time and would be better to find a work around

bareknuckles
Valued Contributor
+4
CEO of my kitchen table
Zoominfo worth the money?Β 
Stratifyz
Opinionated
+9
Business Development Rep
What industry do you sell into?
Broncosfan
Politicker
+5
Account Manager
Loved what @funcouponsΒ said but adding to it, the term Gatekeeper itself is adversarial. Had a SM eliminate that term from my vocab so I can look at them as a source of information. Most executive assistants have info and are people too. Research the exec asst for the next time you call, try and be likeable, and if they won't put you through, ask them when the best time to call is so you're not a nuisance. I rarely get through on the first call but on follow ups I have much better success.Β 
CraigArator
Good Citizen
+2
Enteprise Account Executive
All is fair in WAR and Sales is WAR.Β  Do Whatever it takes.Β 
13
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