One of the biggest challenges merchant services salespeople and agents face is overcoming objections. A merchant may object to your sales pitch for a number of reasons, including the classic “I don’t have time to talk right now.”
Here are some other common objections we hear out in the field:
- I work with my bank.
- I just switched providers or am in a contract.
- I already have the lowest rates.
- Your company has negative reviews.
- I’m not interested.
Do any of these sound familiar?
Developing strategies to navigate these objections is all part of the job. However, before you can even start using those strategies, you have to overcome the biggest obstacle standing between you and your prospect - the gatekeeper.
Keep reading to learn more about gatekeepers and five tactics to help you gain the keys to the kingdom.
What is a Gatekeeper?
In the business world, a gatekeeper is someone who keeps unexpected sales calls from reaching the decision-maker. The gatekeeper’s mission is to safeguard their decision-maker’s time and energy. If you want to have a chance at taking some of that time, you need to sway the gatekeeper.
Depending on the business you contact, the gatekeeper could be an office manager, receptionist, administrative assistant, or other team member. If this person believes that you have something valuable to offer their decision-maker, they will open the proverbial “gates” for you to start a conversation with your prospect. However, if the gatekeeper isn’t impressed by you or your offering, they can easily turn you away.
How to Get Past the Gatekeeper
If there is a gatekeeper standing between you and your prospect, it will take an intentional approach to charm them enough to let you through. Remember, the gatekeeper is a very important team member for your prospect. Developing a positive rapport with them could make or break the opportunity for you.
Here are five tips to help you get past the gatekeeper on good terms.
1. Practice your cold calling.
The saying “practice makes perfect” applies to more than musical instruments and sports. It also applies to sales! Spend time writing and rehearsing a call script specifically for talking with the gatekeeper. Just like you would with any prospect, remember to lead with empathy and respect.
Try to put yourself in the gatekeeper’s shoes. Think about their job, the pressure they may be under, and what’s most important to them. This along with a thoughtful call script can help you get on the gatekeeper’s good side.
2. Remain calm and speak with confidence.
Even though you might be feeling frustrated or confronted by the gatekeeper, remain calm and speak with confidence. Make it apparent that you respect their time just like you would the prospect’s. Choose your tone and words carefully to show how sure you are that your solution is the best thing for the prospect’s business.
3. Call the prospect by their name.
Be sure to do your research before contacting the business so you can call your prospect by their first name. This is a small detail, but it can go a long way with the gatekeeper. They may be impressed to know that you did your research. Better yet, they may think you already know the prospect and put your call through right away.
For an added touch, use the gatekeeper’s first name if they share it with you. This way, instead of saying, “Hi, can I speak to the owner?” you can lead with, “Hello Maria, my name is Travis. May I please speak with Jill?”
4. Ask to leave a voicemail.
If you don’t feel like you’re making any progress with the gatekeeper, ask to leave a voicemail for your prospect. This option still offers you a little promise, provided that the prospect checks their voicemail regularly.
Keep your message brief, while being sure to focus on the value you provide. Include your name, company, contact information, and reason for calling in your message. We recommend writing out a script to reference if you get stuck.
5. Save your sales pitch for the prospect.
Don’t try to sell to the gatekeeper. This is a waste of their time and yours. Instead, mention any previous interactions you’ve had with the prospect and briefly touch on the pain point you are trying to help them alleviate. Put the features of your solution aside for a moment and make it all about the prospect.
When it comes to navigating the gatekeeper, it’s important to be respectful and persistent. Keep in mind, it takes an average of 18 touch points to connect with a prospect. If you can’t get through the first time around, thank the gatekeeper for their time and let them know you’ll call again in the future.
Don’t look at the gatekeeper as a roadblock. Think of your time with them as an opportunity to develop a meaningful relationship with someone in the organization.
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