He’s in a Meeting – or is he? Working with Gatekeepers

I recently made a cold call. I actually make a few of them daily as a way to introduce people to the concept of decision facilitation and find new business partners to help me place my material into the Change Management/Buy-in arena. Now that Buying Facilitation™ is becoming widely known in sales, it’s time to expand the use of the model. And so I make cold calls. Basically, of course, it’s a ‘sales job.’

When I make cold calls I ask the receptionist to direct me to the person’s assistant as she’ll redirect me to the appropriate person, get me an appointment to speak with the original person, or tell me how best to move forward. The PA of a high level person is always smart, savvy in the ways the corporation runs, and knows what’s going on throughout the organization. Not to mention they know exactly who to bring in and who to leave out: that’s their job.

I recently wanted to speak with a very high level person (‘Jim’) in a Fortune 500 company. I called the assistant and he’s how the conversation went:

SDM: Hi. I’m wondering if you can help me. My name is Sharon-Drew Morgen, and I’m the author of a few books on a decision facilitation model that would seem to sit on the front end of what you folks are already doing. I’m seeking a possible business partnership. This is a cold call, and I know I’m calling out of the blue. What would you recommend I do?

ASSISTANT: Well, sounds like Jim would like to speak with you. But he’s in a meeting now. You can send him an email. Would you like his email address?

SDM: Sure. But let me ask you something. Do you folks ever partner with others or add new content to what you’re already doing?

A: Yes. We do this all the time. It’s not possible to have all of the material our clients would like.

SDM: Good. Then maybe it’s worth a discussion. How would you or Jim know that working with a decision facilitation model would offer an additional set of skills and wouldn’t compete with what you’re already doing successfully?

A: We’d have to get to know your material, get to know you, and see if there is chemistry. What do you have that’s different and new?

SDM: My model offers navigation skills to the sellers or influencers to help their customers recognize all of the internal decision issues they’ll need to address before they’d be willing to buy or change. Much like I’m doing with you now – helping you determine if adding something new could be done in a way that would maintain your company integrity.

A: Ah. I get it. Sounds wonderful. Just a moment. Let me get Jim for you.

How many times do you get told “He’s in a meeting”? Is he really? or are you being kept out?

What would you need to believe differently in order to have a different relationship with the gatekeeper? How could you trust that the gatekeeper would bring you in if s/he trusted that you had something to offer? What new skills would you need to accomplish this?

Think about it. Do you want to sell? Or have someone buy. They are two different activities and require two different skill sets.


3 thoughts on “He’s in a Meeting – or is he? Working with Gatekeepers”

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention He’s in a Meeting – or is he? Working with Gatekeepers | Sharon-Drew Morgen -- Topsy.com

  2. Hi Sharon,
    I don't like the term gatekeeper, even though it reminds me of the “Ghostbusters” movie. I have had many conversations similar to the one you quote above. I don't know that I ever stated directly “this is a sales call” but I would have often said, ” I have a product that I believe could offer you a number of production benefits but I won't know for sure till I can talk to MrX”. I then got a response similar to yours and responded by asking similar questions to those you quote above. Often people don't know the details but they know enough to guess that what you are offering is worth a hearing. Keep selling Sharon more of them will get it, heaven knows they need to.

  3. Pingback: How much time do sales people waste? | Sharon-Drew Morgen

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