The Gatekeeper – A Telemarketer’s Dilemma

If you’ve been in the Telemarketing industry for the longest time, then definitely you’d be familiar with that dreaded term ‘Gatekeeper’ by now. No, they don’t belong to any secret order, although oftentimes it feels like they do. These are the individuals whose job mainly is to prevent people, especially telemarketers, from getting in-touch with the Decision-Makers. In some cases, these are receptionist or switchboard operator. But in some companies, it may be a personal assistant or a secretary.What’s with the Gatekeeper that every telemarketer finds it imperative to avoid like the plague? It’s because of that psychological barrier inculcated in the minds of the telemarketers that Gatekeepers are enemies. With that in mind, they’re already half-right.Here are some helpful tips for getting past the gatekeeper:JUST LIKE YOU, THEY’VE GOT A JOB TO DORemember that the Gatekeeper is just like a uniformed guard to a posh mansion, they’ll let you know that, unless you are invited, you are not welcome and believe it or not, it’s actually part of their jobs. And understanding the Gatekeepers even more will make the telemarketer’s work a little more bearable.SOUND REALLY IMPORTANTIf someone believes that you are important, they will treat you differently. Speak slowly and articulately, don’t forget to relax, calm your voice, and don’t divulge more than is necessary. During the opening seconds of your conversation, if the Gatekeeper senses that you’re nowhere near their pay grade, you run the risk of getting nowhere near the DM. Management almost always gets preferential treatment.ITS NOT WHAT YOU KNOW BUT WHAT THEY KNOWOne important fact about a Gatekeeper every telemarketer should know is that they do know a great deal of important information about the DM and the business. Are you certain that the person you’re looking for is the Decision-Maker? If you play your cards right and get on the Gatekeeper’s good side, they might direct you to the proper person you should be talking to. Check your facts with them. Including the Gatekeepers in the decision-making process by asking for their opinions on certain aspects of their company might do you some good.RELAXBeing nervous, stressed or tense easily translates over the phone. Your voice, your behavior and choice of words are visibly affected by it. All of these will significantly impact on how the Gatekeeper sees you and therefore how they are to treat your request of information. Breathe, Inhale and exhale, this will put you at ease and put an air of confidence. What’s the worst thing that could happen to you anyway?ESCAPE AND EVADE?Trying to sneak past the Gatekeeper is like escaping from Alcatraz, chances are you’ll get shot down immediately. Actively engage with the Gatekeeper. Use humor to establish rapport. You can gently probe but don’t get too personal and don’t pry. If you can’t get through to the DM immediately, engage the Gatekeeper so that they remember you and will retain a friendly and positive attitude towards you when you call back. In some small companies, gatekeepers are sometimes the DM’s wife, girlfriend or daughter. It’s highly unlikely you’ll become best friends, but building that friendly and positive attitude might get you through to the right person.Never be rude or sarcastic, you’ll never know if the Gatekeeper is really just a Gatekeeper or the actual DM pretending to be a Gatekeeper. Oftentimes their job isn’t so easy (try sending letters, emails, faxes while keeping the DM’s tight schedule), but If they warm up to you, they will more than likely help you. It all depends on your approach and conviction.Then again, telemarketing is personal and is very subjective; what works for one, will not necessarily work for another. These tips should get you started on having a rewarding and fruitful encounter with the Gatekeeper. Be like a sponge, absorb what is useful and reject what is useless as far as understanding and working with the Gatekeeper is concerned. When all else fails, the last best solution is to always treat Gatekeepers with respect and compassion, contrary to what you believe in the beginning, Gatekeepers are also human beings, just like you.

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