Wendy Weiss

Article Summary:

How to get past the gatekeeper and reach your prospect directly.

How To Get Past The Gatekeeper

Whenever I talk about Getting Past the Gatekeeper, the secretaries, receptionists, assistants, voice mail, anyone and/or anything that blocks access, I've taken to pointing to Donald Trump. The question I ask: "If Donald Trump were to call your prospect, and that prospect's secretary were to say to him, 'What is this in reference to?' what do you think Donald Trump would say?"

This question always occasions much conversation. The general consensus of opinion, however, is that Donald Trump would probably say, "This is Donald Trump. Is she there?"

Another example: If Barbra Streisand calls Steven Spielberg at DreamWorks and Steven's secretary says to her, "What is this in reference to?" here is what Barbra will not say: "I'm a singer and an actress and a producer and maybe you've seen some of my movies?" She would probably say, "This is Barbra Streisand. Is he there?"

I know that many of you will now say to me, "But Wendy, I'm not famous." It doesn't matter. I'm willing to bet that Donald Trump and Barbra Streisand would have said exactly the same thing 30 years ago before they were famous. I'm willing to bet that 30 years ago they had almost the same self-confidence, assurance and sense of entitlement that they have now. It was that self- confidence, assurance and sense of entitlement that helped them get to where they are now.

Let's switch gears for a moment and talk about your prospects. What type of people are they? They are bosses. What does it mean to be a boss? How does a boss behave? First of all, bosses are decision-makers. That's what we call them and that's what they do. They are used to making decisions. They also have at least some authority to be able to implement their decisions. They give direction and expect the direction to be followed. More than likely, at least in their business persona, they have self- confidence and assurance. These are all traits that bosses or leaders share and these traits influence how a boss or a leader behaves.

There have been many, many books and articles written about the art of creating rapport with prospects. Usually what it boils down to is being as like the prospect as you can be without mimicking or imitating them. When you are able to do this well, your prospect will see you as being like them. That prospect is then more likely to feel comfortable with you and want to spend time with you and do business with you.

Let's take that a step further and talk about secretaries and assistants. If you behave like a boss, i.e., with authority, self-confidence and assurance, the secretary will see you as being a boss. Other bosses are peers with her boss. The secretary will give more value, importance and urgency to your call when she believes you to be a peer of her boss.

Here is my recommendation for speaking with the gatekeeper: Go into Boss Mode. Speak with authority, self-confidence and assurance. Give direction to that secretary, "Please tell (your prospect) that (your name) from (your company) is on the line." And give direction as if you were speaking with your own secretary. (It's alright if you do not have a secretary or assistant today. One day you very well might. Look at this as practice.) Be polite and firm. Give your directions in a manner that says you expect your direction to be followed. (How do you think Donald Trump would say it?)

I know that I will get some e-mails here, from people who will tell me this approach is rude. It's not rude to speak with confidence and self-assurance. And, if you use this approach, you will find that your ability to reach prospects will rise significantly.

Wendy Weiss, "The Queen of Cold Calling", is a sales trainer, author and sales coach. Her recently released program, "Cold Calling College," and/or her book, "Cold Calling for Women," can be ordered by visiting Queen of Cold Calling.com. You can also contact Wendy via email, or sign up for her free e-zine for more information.

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