One of the first questions to consider in lead generation is how to get past the “gatekeeper” – the person standing between you and the decision makers who could potentially become sales leads. Is the lead generation “gatekeeper” a friend or a foe?
Lead generation strategies for handling gatekeepers fall roughly into two camps: “partnering with the gatekeeper” and “confusing the gatekeeper.”
“Partnering with the gatekeeper” is a synergistic approach to lead generation. If you’re trying to get names and job titles of people within the organization, it often makes sense to find an “ally” or “guide” within that organization who can potentially point you in the right direction. Instead of viewing the gatekeeper as an obstacle to overcome, consider the gatekeeper as a potential “partner” who will want to help you talk to the right people in the company. When you partner with the gatekeeper, you need to show the gatekeeper that you’re trying to help and that you are someone who can be trusted. You need to build a sense of rapport with the gatekeeper and offer to make the gatekeeper’s life easier as well.
The drawback of the “partnering with the gatekeeper” approach is that it takes time. You might not get to talk to your ideal decision maker right away. You might invest time building a relationship with a gatekeeper only to be rejected, or ultimately realize that they’re not the right person who can help you.
On the other hand is the more subversive “confusing the gatekeeper” approach. This angle seeks to slip past the gatekeeper by presenting the impression that the prospect is already expecting your call or implying that you are already known by the prospect. The challenge of “confusing the gatekeeper” is that you don’t want to be dishonest, because that could ultimately hurt your cause. If somehow the gatekeeper finds out that you weren’t supposed to get through, that might ruin your chances of getting to the appointment setting stage of the conversation.
There is no one magic lead generation method that is going to get you in every door. Certain situations require you to take the time to build rapport with the gatekeeper, while other times lead generation is more of a “Numbers game” where you just need to quickly get through to as many sales leads as possible, without spending time building relationships along the way.
Regardless of which method you choose to get past the gatekeeper, your lead generation and appointment setting calls are likely to be more successful if you maintain flexibility and adapt your approach depending on the situation at hand.
Whether you choose to “partner” with the gatekeeper or try to slip past or “confuse” the gatekeeper, the single biggest thing you can do to improve your dealings with gatekeepers is to deal with more of them more often. Efficient, frequent, consistent action can do more to improve your number of successful sales than any single approach to getting past gatekeepers. And by staying flexible in your lead generation approach, you just might find you are closing more often, too.