Insurance agents always view gatekeepers as one of the challenges they need to overcome in sales process. Gatekeepers can be the secretaries, receptionists or personal assistants and their job is to screen calls and prevent unsolicited callers from talking to their bosses.
There are occasions gatekeepers may frustrate and anger you. Some gatekeepers have gatekeepers of their own. Many gatekeepers are trained to detect if the caller is a salesperson. They may even imitate how a typical salesperson talks over the phone.
Facing difficult gatekeepers could be an opportunity in disguise. Many salespeople could have been turned away for not able to get past the gatekeepers. It simply means you have less competition. What it requires of you is to know the right approach. For this reason, here are 6 tips to help you deal with the gatekeepers.
(1) Learn to see gatekeepers in new light
The term “gatekeeper” has such negative connotation that most salespeople frown upon and feel uneasy with. In fact, if your insurance prospect has an assistant to screen calls, it is an indication that he or she holds a senior level position in the company
Gatekeepers aren’t really gatekeepers. They are people with feelings and they have jobs to do. Once we look at gatekeepers from different perspective, we may change our mindset from that of confrontational to collaborative.
(2) Understand and think like a gatekeeper
How we perceive gatekeepers may not be the same as how gatekeepers perceive themselves. If we understand what is in the mind of the gatekeepers, we may discover that gatekeepers are friendlier than what we ever imagined.
Although gatekeepers are tasked is to prevent salespeople like insurance agents from pestering their bosses, they also understand that their organizations may benefit if the insurance agents offer products and services that add value to their organizations.
(3) Never underestimate the role of gatekeepers
We are always being judged either in person or over the phone. Just because the gatekeepers are not the decision makers doesn’t mean they don’t make any positive or negative valuations about you. You may be surprised how gatekeepers may influence the decision making process.
If a manager is informed by his or her secretary that the insurance agent was rude or offensive, the manager may decide not to do business with the agent regardless of what the agent has to offer.
(4) Align with the gatekeepers
Gatekeepers respond well to people who are courteous. They don’t like aggressive insurance agents especially those who treat them like insignificant individuals in the company. Explain why you are committed to meeting with your insurance prospects and the purpose of the meeting.
Aligning yourself with gatekeepers goes a long way. You can gain a lot of valuable information if you are able to build cordial relationship with the gatekeepers. You will learn, amongst others, the type of business, the servicing insurance agents, the buying process and the decision makers.
(5) Be sincere and friendly
Some sales training suggests you use tactics such as saying that you are returning a call. You are however at risk of losing the trust if someone discovered it was not the case. Trust is the building block for relationship commitment.
We need to learn to avoid getting past gatekeepers through manipulation but recognizing their important role in sales process. A positive attitude is essential. The gatekeepers have to believe that their bosses would want to hear what you have to offer to them or their organizations.
(6) Leverage on your relationship with gatekeepers
You need to sound confident, relaxed and friendly in order to form a positive impression about you when speaking to the gatekeepers. The gatekeepers may turn out to be your building block instead of stumbling block.
It is important to establish and maintain good relationship with gatekeepers. You can use the gatekeeper as a reference. Complimenting the politeness and competence of the gatekeepers is a good start when speaking with your insurance prospects.
Dealing with gatekeepers involves a lot of patience and effort. That is the price we have to pay when building relationship. Relationship is always a critical success factor in insurance selling. The best approach is none other than making the gatekeepers your customers. They in turn can be your best ally.