Blog

A Telemarketer's View of Gatekeepers

Martin Blain, Sales Director of Office Response, recently posted a great blog item here:

http://www.office-response.co.uk/blog/2010/07/a-gatekeepers-view-of-telesales-calls/ 

I was invited to respond from a telemarketer’s perspective to give a view from “both sides of the fence”.

In our business, it’s fair to say that one of the biggest challenges is reaching the senior decision makers we need to engage with for our clients. They are usually jealously protected by “gatekeepers” who understandably won’t put through calls that they think might be a waste of time. We carefully choose who we call to make sure that our client’s solutions are being pitched to contacts who are really going to benefit, but there is a real skill in persuading receptionists, PA’s and switchboard operators that you’re worth connecting to a busy senior manger or director.

Unscrupulous and unethical telemarketers will try all kinds of “dirty tricks” to get through, causing real damage to the brand they are calling for. The worst example I’ve personally experienced was a call that was put through to me by someone claiming to be “from the police”, only for me to discover it was a telemarketing call once they got through. Given my profession, I’m especially inclined to take telemarketing calls, but his approach was little short of disgraceful and the feedback I gave him was pretty “direct”.  

It goes without saying that we wouldn’t dream of doing anything underhand like this, or our hard won reputation would quickly be in tatters, but we surveyed some of our agents to get their perspective….

What is the best way to persuade a gatekeeper to put you through to a senior decision maker?

“Always be polite and stay calm”

“Using the correct name and job title for the decision maker is really important”

“Be friendly, open and co-operative and try to build a relationship without being smarmy, this usually means you’ll be put through on a second or third call”

“Be direct and up front with a clear purpose, giving enough information up front to give the decision maker a fair idea of what the call is going to be about”

“Be professional and polite – ask for the named contact and try to speak to them conversationally, it’s easy to sound “scripted” when you are calling all day, even though we’re not…”

What are PA’s, receptionists and other gatekeepers usually like?

“Very helpful if you mind your p’s and q’s”

“Some are very helpful indeed, especially high level PA’s”

“It’s 50/50 – about half are really willing and happy to help, provide names and check diary availability”

“Most are actually OK, but it’s the really awkward ones we remember. Some are actually very apologetic about not being able to put you through”

What are the toughest gatekeepers like?

“Difficult – the toughest won’t give you any time at all to explain what the call is about.”

“Stern, short in their responses and sometimes impolite; they will always pick up on the weakest point in your explanation and positioning”

“Horrible….”

How do Gatekeepers typically respond when they understand that you are making a telemarketing call?

“Most are positive – generally a good introduction earns a good response”

“Some will block the call outright and will ask for email to be sent first, either to themselves or the contact directly – when we do so this often opens things up on successive calls”

“It depends, some are fine and some will put an absolute block on the call – it’s generally not worthwhile trying to persuade them to put you through if this is the case”

Related articles

Why businesses cannot ignore the health of their data

Why businesses cannot ignore the health of their data

Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Find out more
How do you create or earn customer loyalty?

How do you create or earn customer loyalty?

Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Find out more
Testing and measuring campaigns to maximise ROI

Testing and measuring campaigns to maximise ROI

Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Find out more
Developing long-term customer relationships

Developing long-term customer relationships

Friday, May 24, 2019
Find out more

Our full range of telephone services

Data Services

Do you want to improve data quality, increase marketing ROI, and ensure GDPR compliance?

Data Cleansing
Data Cleansing
Expert data cleansing creates clean, accurate and compliant data that matches your target audience
Read more
Data Enrichment
Data Enrichment
Data enrichment delivers the insight needed to connect better with your target audience
Read more
Email Opt-ins: GDPR
Email Opt-ins: GDPR
Boost engagement and ROI with consent based communications
Read more

Pre Sales Research

Do you need actionable insight to inform your sales and marketing strategy?

Pre Sales Research
Pre Sales Research
Arm your sales and marketing teams with clear customer intelligence and accurate data.
Read more

Telemarketing

Want more opportunities to drive revenue?

Lead Generation
Lead Generation
High-quality lead generation at every stage of the customer journey
Read more
Call Handling
Call Handling
Professional outsourced customer service. We can provide your customers with an expert, personalised service – making every interaction count
Read more
Appointment Setting
Appointment Setting
Successful appointment setting requires meaningful human interaction with senior decision makers
Read more
Lead Management
Lead Management
Drive value by improving lead flow, quality and conversion
Read more
Event Marketing
Event Marketing
Strategic event marketing can generate higher demand and deliver greater value.
Read more
Lead Qualification / Nurture
Lead Qualification / Nurture
Move leads through the funnel more strategically with our expert lead qualification and lead nurturing services
Read more

Sales

Is your sales strategy driving the results you need?

Telesales / Inside Sales
Telesales / Inside Sales
The quality of your Inside Sales skills can be a key differentiator in a competitive market.
Read more
Account Based Marketing
Account Based Marketing
Smart account based marketing helps to increase profitability, reverse churn and increase customer lifetime value.
Read more

Post Sales Research

Is your customer intelligence keeping pace with your business goals?

Welcome Calls
Welcome Calls
An effective welcome call helps to create a foundation for a lasting relationship. Retaining customers costs less than acquiring them, so it makes sense to have a robust retention strategy in place – starting as soon as a prospect is converted.
Read more
Customer Satisfaction
Customer Satisfaction
Measure customer satisfaction and gain a more nuanced view of your customers’ experiences through phone-based surveys.
Read more
Treating Customers Fairly / Compliance
Treating Customers Fairly / Compliance
An FCA authorised and regulated business, our expert team can help you meet your TCF compliance needs with greater confidence and increased customer insight.
Read more