The Grow Show: 4 steps to getting past the gatekeeper

The Grow Show: 4 steps to getting past the gatekeeper

Keep your sales pipeline full and acquire new customers in 2010.

  • January 6, 2010
  • The Harvest Group

As we enter the New Year, The Grow Show turns its focus to acquiring new customers. Every contractor knows he has to constantly fill the sales funnel with new prospects. The list is usually long but the contact information isn’t always fleshed out. To do this, it’s important to first get past the gatekeeper. 

This segment of the Grow Show from the Harvest Group will share specific ideas for getting this done. Listen to the podcast here and follow along with the outline below. 
Step 1 – Identify targets and know your goals.
  • Be second at 200.
  • Pick a number: top 50 for example. Really work on them.
  • Keep your funnel full of viable prospects.
Step 2 – Do your homework. Research what they do and who are the decision makers.
  • Use the Web to research; Google their name.
  • Make phone calls – find out! 
  • Read articles or columns they have written.
  • Find someone in the organization that can give you info on the decision maker.
  • Try COSTAR like program that tracks this information.
  • Subscribe to their type of trade magazine and learn about their needs or them.
Understand: Two types of gate keepers – What kind are you dealing with?
Permanent – most likely a full time trusted administrative assistant – their job is to filter people like you. In some cases their job depends on protecting their boss.
Situational – temporary worker, member from a different department. 
It's important to understand what type of gatekeeper you're dealing with in order to fashion your strategy. What works on one type of gatekeeper may not work on another. Be polite, and never take a rude tone, even sprinkle some humor in there.  
Step 3 – Go through a different gate.
  • Timing – call early or late to avoid the gatekeeper.
  • Net working Groups – who knows them.
  • Subcontractors – do you know any that work there?
  • Start at the top – start higher to get referred down.
  • Call Purchasing – get referred by another department.
  • Associations – join the ones they belong to.
  • Sales Department – sales people are helpful and talk.
  • Charities – find out what charities Mr. Big goes to and you go too.
  • Golf Outing – play golf and play when Mr. Big plays – usually fundraisers.
  • Voicemail – if and when you get through leave short sweet voice mail, use humor if possible and always be positive.
  •  Keep in Contact with Mr. Big. Send magazine subscription with my ad, cubes, ice scrapers, e-newsletter, letters, notes, interesting articles. Once you've met the decision maker, you can use the direct approach with the gatekeeper.   
Step 4 – Can’t get through a different gate? Deal with the gatekeeper.
  • Do your research
  • Create an ally and sell to the gatekeeper
  • Be friendly, use humor, win them over – be patient it may take some time – don’t rush.  Sell them about you and your company, but just a little at a time. She/he will give you great insights about Mr. Big. Ask questions and learn.  Keep really good notes.
  • Don’t give up – you will have success – next step is to get ready when Mr. Big gets on the phone or you have your first appointment.
Harvester action items:
1 – Make a list of the top 200 accounts you want to get into over the next 12 months.
2 – Thoroughly research each, learn the critical challenges they face and goals they're trying to achieve. 
3 – Craft an approach to the senior executive level that conveys your understanding of their challenges and goals, and how you and your company are uniquely positioned to help them deal with/achieve them. 
4 – Then make those calls. 
5 – Simultaneously, start making other connections at these same companies.
6 – Develop these relationships to the point where you feel comfortable asking for directions on where you need to go in the organization, as well as in assistance getting there. 


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