Phone Sales & Business Prospecting Calls Tools Tips Methods & Ideas

Avoid This One Error when Prospecting by Phone
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

best creative, effective phone business prospecting scripts, tools, tips, process, methods and ideas to help you successfully close more sales

Learn about the best creative, effective phone business prospecting scripts, tools, tips, process, methods and ideas to help you successfully close more sales.

On Facebook last week, there was a very brave soul who was making cold calls live. I clicked over to hear him doing it (he sells SEO services), and as I watched I noticed he was making one crucial error that was leading to him not getting very far with prospects. I want to share with you what this common prospecting error is and how to immediately fix it.

Before I do, I just want to acknowledge the guts it took to put himself out there, live, for all the world to see. Good for you! After hearing him, and watching him be so courageous, I wanted to help him. So I contacted him and offered to do a complimentary coaching session with him to help correct this fundamental error. Prior to the call, I asked this sales rep to send over recordings, so I could play and point out exactly what he was doing wrong.

OK, so here’s what it is: He was calling prospects and his pitch went like this:

“Hi, this is {first & last name} with {his company}, and I know you’re probably busy, so I just want to ask you a quick question to see if it makes sense for us to talk…

“If you could wave a magic wand and change two things about your online marketing, what would they be?”

The responses he got were generally negative, along the lines of, “Look, I’m in the middle of something right now and can’t talk to you…”

As you read this article, can you identify what the mistake in this approach is?

When I was coaching this rep, I told him that the problem was that he wasn’t making any connection in the beginning and wasn’t allowing his prospect to engage with him at all. Instead, he was barging in on someone’s day and asking a question that required the prospect to stop doing what he was doing and then give a ton of information he probably didn’t want to give.

I said it was analogous to saying, “Hey, you don’t know me, but give me your time and tell me how to sell you.”

I also told him that my reaction as a business owner would have been, “Who are you, and how dare you ask me to tell you that!”

What was missing was the common courtesy of human interaction to set up the call. Plus, what was missing was a value statement of what might be in it for the prospect. I suggested he revise his opening to:

“Hi, this is {first & last name} with {his company}, how’s your day going?”

[Wait and respond accordingly—engage!]

“{first name}, I know you’re probably busy, so I’ll be brief. The reason for the call is that we provide affordable SEO services to small companies like yours so you can have a big footprint on the Internet and drive more qualified leads.

“Question: how are you going about doing that right now?”

Note: this is just one of many different qualifying questions I would ask based on how they sounded to me. The point is to 1) Make a connection first, 2) Give the reason for your call—your value statement, 3) Ask an appropriate, quick qualifying question. This is the best practice approach.

After our coaching session, I received an email the next day from this rep. He said he listened to the recording of the session several times and something clicked. He told me that he attends many face to face networking events, and he realized he would never use his phone prospecting script with anyone in person. It would be inappropriate and even rude!

Instead, he said, he would make conversation first, connect and interact with someone. He figured it would probably be true in sales over the phone as well. I told him that was the perfect analogy! I couldn’t have said it any better.

So, for all you inside reps and companies that are making outbound prospecting calls, just ask yourself: Would your technique work face to face? If not, then change it so it would. You’ll do much better when you do.

Handling & Overcoming Common Objections in Phone Cold Call Prospecting

Avoid Rejection While Prospecting with this One Technique
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

sales training with best tips, rebuttal techniques and responses on how to go about handling and overcoming most common objections in phone cold call prospecting

Discover sales training with best tips, rebuttal techniques and responses on how to go about handling and overcoming most common objections in phone cold call prospecting.

Prospecting by phone can be hard—gatekeepers screening you out, decision makers don’t want to talk to you, etc.—but it doesn’t have to be. I’m going to give you one proven sales technique to use that will allow you to overcome many of the sales objections you’re getting now.

In fact, if you just take a few days to memorize this scripted sales technique, and then use it on each and every call for a week, you’ll be amazed by how much easier prospecting (or cold calling) becomes.

Before I give you this sales prospecting technique, let me tell you how you’ll use it. This technique will help you overcome objections from:

1) Gatekeepers
2) Decision makers
3) Assistants
4) Influencers, etc.

And, this technique will work with any of the following sales objections or sales stalls like:

1) We wouldn’t be interested
2) We already have a company that handles that
3) We’re happy with who we’re using
4) We aren’t doing anything until next quarter/year/never…
5) We don’t take unsolicited calls
6) I’ll have to check with my boss to see if we’re interested…

As you can see, the following proven sales technique will work on the most common, frustrating sales objections and sales blow offs you’re getting now.

One last thing before I give you this proven sales script: This sales technique is meant to allow you to get around the sales stalls and sales objections above. The last thing you want to do is try to overcome these stalls or objections. Instead, your goal is to get past this initial resistance and back into your qualifying.

OK, here it is: Whenever you get any of the above sales objections or sales stalls, you simply reply:

“That’s perfectly OK, and just know that I’m not trying to sell you anything today. Instead, I just want to provide you with a proven resource you might be able to use down the road should you find you ever need… (Pick from one of the following that best suits the objection you’re getting):

• This product or service, or
• A new vendor for different services, or
• To compare quotes and services with a different vendor, or
• See what else is available to you, or
• In case you do need to reach out to someone else for whatever reason…

(And I’m sure you can think of some of your own, right?)

And then get right into a qualifying question, like:

• “So let me ask you: how often do you use XYZ?” or
• “When was the last time you checked…” or
• “How many quotes do you normally get when you need…?”
• “How do you get involved in…?”

Again, I’m sure you can come up with other sales qualifying questions here. The point is to A) side step the sales objection using the technique above, and then B) engage your prospect by asking a qualifying question.

If you master this one technique, you will instantly avoid many of the sales objections and stalls you’re getting now. Having a proven response like this to handle the selling situations you get into, over and over again, is what will change your prospecting experience and allow you to speak with more qualified and potential sales leads.

And this is what will lead to more sales success. So, get to work: adapt the sales script and questions above to suit your selling situation and use it, master it, over the next week. And then watch your meaningful sales conversations and sales results soar.

Best Ways & Techniques How to Improve & Increase Closing Sales Process

Close More Sales Using More Assumptive Questions
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

best ways on how to increase, improve and boost your sales process performance with more effective tips, techniques strategies and ideas including top closing lines and assumptive questions

Learn the best ways on how to increase, improve and boost your sales process performance with more effective tips, techniques strategies and ideas including top closing lines and assumptive questions.

Want a quick tip for closing more sales over the phone—or even face to face? Learn to ask better questions!

Surprisingly, when I listen to closing calls (or even prospecting and cold calls), I hear sales reps ask the wrong types of questions over and over again. Here’s an example:

“Do you have any questions for me?”

Quick: What’s wrong with this kind of question? If you answered that it’s a “closed-ended” question, you’re right. This question forces your prospect to answer either “yes” or “no.” Either way, the conversation stops.

The better sales reps close more sales and open more sales conversations by taking the time to change all their closed-ended questions into either open-ended questions or even assumptive questions. To do this with the above question, you’d change it to:

“What questions do you have for me?”

Granted your prospect can still tell you no, but this way you’re at least leading them to answering the question, rather than making it easy for them to just say no and end the conversation.

Below you’ll find better questions to help you prospect and cold call more effectively, and to help you close more sales by asking more effective questions:

Change: “Would you like to get more business?”

To: “How much more business would you like to get?”

Change: “Do you think you would get more traffic (or leads) from using this?”

To: “How much more traffic (or leads) do you think you would get using this?”

Change: “Do you think your other (departments/locations/etc.) could benefit from this?”

To: “How many other (departments/locations/etc.) would benefit from this?”

Change: “Do you have a budget for this?”

To: “What kind of budget do you have for this?”

Change: “Do you think your partner/manager/corporate would agree with this?”

To: “Why do you think your partner/manager/corporate would agree with this?”

Change: “Does this make sense to you?”

To: “Tell me, what part of this makes the most sense to you?”

Change: “Is this something you would like to go ahead and try?”

To: “Let’s go ahead and get you started…”

Change: “What do you think your manager will say?”

To: “How do we get your manager to say yes to this?”

Change: “Are you the ultimate decision maker on this?”

To: “And besides yourself, who else would be making the final decision on this?”

Change: “Is your (current solution) providing all the leads you need?”

To: “What would you like to most improve with your (current solution)?

As you can see, many open-ended questions can be turned into an assumptive ones. And do you see how much more suggestive and powerful they are? Go through your qualifying script, your closing script, and your objection scripts and look for opportunities to transform your closed-ended questions into powerful and effective assumptive ones.

Then watch as you gain more control over selling situations and begin eliminating the objections and stalls that you may be creating—by asking the wrong kinds of questions—right now.

If you’d like two more scripts to help you close more sales and give better sales presentations, then click here for my new book: Power Phone Scripts.

As you’ll see, the more prepared you are for your sales presentations and closes you are, the more confident and successful you’ll be.

Best Sample Cold Calling Sales Pitch scripts Tips Techniques Examples

Best Openings for Your Closing & Presentation Calls
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

effective openings and sample outbound cold calling phone telemarketing sales pitch scripts including the best tips, techniques and examples ever written for closing calls.

Discover effective openings and sample outbound cold calling phone telemarketing sales pitch scripts including the best tips, techniques and examples ever written for closing calls.

If you close sales or do sales presentations over the phone, then you might be wondering what the best way to open the closing call is. Inside sales, as you may know, offers lots of advantages, one of them being that you can use a sales script that is proven and effective. Obviously, you want to memorize and internalize the script, so you don’t sound like a robot, but once you do, you’ll be able to deliver a consistent sales presentation, or closing call, over and over again.

And this brings us to today’s sales blog: what is the best-practice opening for your sales presentation or closing call? To answer this, let first look at what not to do:

Believe it or not, many sales reps open their sales presentation or closing calls with this weak opening:

“Oh hi, this is _______ _______ with _________, and we had an appointment right now to go over the presentation. Is this still a good time for you?”

Now I know that it seems polite to check in with your prospect before just launching into your presentation (which you’d never want to do anyway) but giving them an out right at the beginning isn’t the way to go. Don’t worry—once you use the opening below, if they don’t have the time, they will let you know.

Before we get to the openings, let me remind you that you’ll first want to get a feel for how they are doing, and you’ll want to build a little rapport. You can use either of the following (or use your favorite opening that works well for you now):

“How is your Wednesday going so far?” or

“How’s your morning going?”

Either of these is better than the old and tired, “How are you today?”

By the way, once you do ask how they are, make sure and listen and react accordingly! Listen for how they sound—are they in a rush? Happy or upset to hear from you? Open and willing?

Use this feedback to adjust the pacing of your presentation. Also, make sure and respond and interact with them here. If they ask you how you’re doing, make sure and acknowledge this and thank them for asking you. And don’t be so quick here to jump into your pitch. Take a minute or two and connect.

After you do this, use an opening that is assumptive and shows that you’re excited to meet with them today. Try either of these sales opening lines:

“_________, I’ve been looking forward to speaking with you today because I have some updates that you’ll be interested in. I’m sure you’re in front of a computer, so do me a favor and go to….”

OR

“I’ve been looking forward to speaking with you today. I’m sure you’ve gone through the (email/website/information) I sent you and you probably have a few questions. What did you want to ask me before we get started?”

This last presentation opening is powerful because it immediately gets your prospect to reveal what questions they have, how interested they are (you’ll know by the quality of their questions), and it gives them a chance to interact with you. This is much better than having you just pitch at them and do a features and benefits dump.

If you think these closes or presentation opening statements are too basic or won’t work, then think again. Compare them with what you’re using now and commit to trying them for week. You’ll be surprised how much easier your closing calls and sales presentations will go.

If you’d like two more scripts to help you close more sales and give better sales presentations, then click here for my new book: Power Phone Scripts.

As you’ll see, the more prepared you are for your sales presentations and closes you are, the more confident and successful you’ll be.

Cold Calling Techniques: Overcoming & Handling Common Sales Objections

Overcoming Objections: “We are already working with someone.”
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

Cold calling techniques for handling and overcoming the most common objections in telemarketing phone sales including the best call rebuttal responses for "not interested."

Learn cold calling techniques for handling and overcoming the most common objections in telemarketing phone sales including the best call rebuttal responses for “not interested.”

One of the main reasons sales reps dislike prospecting and cold calling is because of all the sales objections they get. Let’s face it: overcoming objections can be tough! Do any of these objections sound familiar?

“I wouldn’t be interested.”

“Just email me something.”

“We already have someone who handles that.”

If you get these sales objections when you’re cold calling or prospecting, welcome to the club. These are the same objections, sales resistance statements, and sales blow offs sales reps have been getting for years. And you will be trying to overcome these objections for years to come!

While that may sound like bad news, it’s actually good news. The way to deal with sales objections like these is simply to be prepared for them with a proven, scripted response. Here are three ways to handle the objection: “We currently work with someone”:

“We’re Currently Working with Someone Else (and we’re happy)”

Sales Objection Response #1

“No problem at all. But while I have you on the phone, what I’d recommend you do is at least learn about a few features we offer that you may not be getting now, so if you ever need to reach out to another company, at least you’ll have an idea of what’s out there.

“In fact, let me ask you: Are you getting XYZ?” (Mention something you offer that your competition doesn’t.)

Wait for them to respond and then engage.

Sales Objection Response #2

“That’s great and let me ask you: if in two minutes I can give you an idea of why more companies are switching to us, would you at least accept an email with my contact information for when you do need to consider using someone else?”

[If yes]

“Great—the number one reason companies switch to us is for XYZ—are you currently getting that now?”

Wait for them to respond and then engage.

Sales Objection Response #3

“Who are you using?”

[Wait to hear, then]:

“That’s a good company, in fact, they are the reason that we created our (name your advantage)—it’s something that takes what they do but makes it better. Have you heard about it?”

[Listen for an opening]

“If you’re interested, I can show you two or three other things we do differently, and then you can judge for yourself if you’d like to learn more, fair enough?”

Memorizing proven inside sales scripts and rebuttals like this will help you overcome objections with confidence and make prospecting for sales much, much easier. Since you know these sales objections are coming, why not learn, in advance, proven ways to deal with them? This is what separates top sales producers from all others close more business and make more money in sales…

If you’d like two more responses to this objection, and over 500 more word-for-word scripts, phrases and sales questions, then click here for my new book: Power Phone Scripts.

As you’ll see, the more prepared you are to overcome the sales objections you know are coming, the more successful you will be.

Why People Hate Cold Calling – And What to Do About It

The words “cold calling” still make sales people sweat.

I was on the phone with a client just a moment ago, while writing this, and he told me the biggest problem with his sales team is call reluctance. When I asked him why they won’t make more calls, he said they hated being rejected.

Here are two things you can do about cold calling to instantly make you, and your team, more effective at overcoming the “objections” they get:

Number One: Recognize that objections while cold calling aren’t really objections – they are just resistance statements.

It’s like when you go into a store and are asked, “Can I help you?” and you automatically reply, “No, just looking.” You aren’t really just looking—you’re usually looking for something specific (why else would you be there?). But you don’t want to deal with a sales rep so you give them resistance.

This usually makes them go away, but when you can’t find something, you seek them out – just like your clients do when they need you.

Number Two: Script out effective ways to deal with this resistance so you can get around it and start qualifying.

Here are some effective ways to do that with the resistance statement: “I’m/we’re not interested.”

If you make “warm” calls to someone who has filled out a web lead and you have to call them back and get “Not Interested” then say: 

“That’s perfectly okay, _________, you’ve probably forgotten that you (filled in a form, requested info, etc.) so I don’t expect you to be interested in what you must think is a cold call.

“But just to remind you – on (date/time) you (visited our website/dropped by our booth/filled out a form, etc.)—just out of curiosity, what were you looking for at that time?”

For inactive accounts or people you’ve not spoken to in a while:

“I’m not interested”

Response:

“That’s fine _________, and I’m simply calling to update your account information for our records. Quick question: Are you still the right contact person who handles ordering the ________ for your company?”

Or

“Oh that’s okay, I’m not calling to sell you anything today. Just want to make sure you still know we’re here in case you do need something down the road. By the way, do you guys still carry/use/order ________?”

For cold calling or prospecting calls:

“I’m not interested”

Response:

“Quick question: Does that mean you’re not interested at this moment, but in a few months things could change, and I should keep in touch?”

Or

“I’m with you—quick question though: are you the right contact for this, or is there another department (or person) I should check with?”

Or

“I understand. What would have to change for you to be more open to something like this in the future?”

This is how you get better at cold calling (or prospecting or whatever you call it). You will be much more confident if you take the time to prepare yourself for the resistance statements you get over and over again. Once you do, and once you begin getting past your prospect’s defensive barriers, you – and your team – will make more calls and begin closing more deals.

The Proper Way to Follow Up on a Lead

In my book, Power Phone Scripts, I reveal the secret of sales: 90% of selling situations are recurring selling situations, which means if you want to become a superstar sales person, then you have to take the time to script out a best practice response to them.

And that means you have to stop ad-libbing your way through your sales career.

Think about it: you wouldn’t want a dentist to make it up as he goes along, would you? Of course not! You count on your dentist to be prepared and trained on the up to date, best practices for handling your dental situation.

The same is true in sales.

And one of the most recurring situations is calling back prospects three or four months later. You’d think this would be a simple, straight forward situation, right? It is, but people still get it wrong.

I was listening to a recording of a client making call backs to prospects, and he opened his call this way:

“Just following up with you. We spoke last December and you told me that wasn’t a good time and that you had a lot going on. I’m hoping that you’re more settled now and perhaps we could talk about your advertising needs?”

Obviously, this isn’t a best practice approach. First, why would you lead with the previous blow off objection she gave you in December? It’s like you’re supplying her with the new blow off she’s going to use right now.

Second, why “hope” she’s more settled right now, and why “ask” if “perhaps” you can talk about her needs now?

Here’s the proper way to follow up on a lead:

“Hi {first name}, this is {your first & last name} calling with {your company}. We spoke in December, and you asked me to reach back out to you here in March – and it’s a good thing you did, because we’ve got some great programs going right now for our summer issue!

“Let me ask you…” [And go into a qualifying/engaging question to get their attention…]

The difference here is that now you’re being proactive, assumptive, and enthusiastic. And you’re leading with a reason for this person to become engaged. This is much more effective than the previous technique—or one you may be using now.

Adapt this script to your own personality and product or sale. And then open all follow up calls with a great big smile in your voice, and be enthusiastic and assumptive. You’ll not only be more effective, but you’ll feel better as well.

If you’d like more (like over 500 more) ways to be more effective, then check out my bestselling book: Power Phone Scripts. It’ll be the best $20 you’ll ever spend on yourself (or your sales team!).

Is This a Good Time to Speak?

How do you feel about this opening? People either love it or hate it. Some sales people think it’s a more courteous way of speaking to a new prospect, that it shows respect and separates you from all the other salespeople who are barging in and delivering a monologue. Other people are against using this opening believing that it gives the prospect control of the call and an easy way to get rid of them. So which way is right?

The answer is the latter—but with some qualifiers.

First, the intent of the technique is right in that it gives someone the chance to tell you that they may be in the middle of something and that right now isn’t a good time. The problem is, you don’t want to lead with this as many prospects will simply use this to get rid of you. There is a better way.

What we want to do instead is to establish a little bit of rapport, give a softening statement, a quick value statement, and then give our prospect an opportunity to tell us if they are too busy to take the call right now. Let’s first look at an example, and then we’ll break it down and show you why it’s effective.

When you get a prospect on the line, a best practice opening would be something like:

“Hi {first name}, hope your day is going well so far?

“{first name}, I’m sure you’re busy so I’ll be brief. I’m with XYZ company and the reason for the call is to see if what we do (you can spell out your value prop here) would be a good fit for you, as well. Let me quickly ask you…(as a qualifying question here).”

OR

“{first name}, we haven’t yet spoken so I’ll be brief. I’m with XYZ company and the reason for the call is to see if what we do (you can spell out your value prop here) would be a good fit for you, as well. Let me quickly ask you…(as a qualifying question here).”

Breaking this down, first you’ll see that we’re letting the prospect know that we recognize their time is valuable, that we may not know them yet, and that they might be busy. All this shows respect for their time.

What we’re doing next is asking a question quickly (this is crucial). In other words, we are not delivering a monologue. We are giving our prospect a chance to engage with us, and it is during this break—after we’ve identified ourselves and given a quick value statement—that the prospect has a chance to tell us whether this is a good time or not. I have always found this the most effective way of doing this.

At this point, we are also in a better position to deal with any blow off or resistance statements, because we’ve been able to deliver our value statement and allowed our prospect to interact with us early on.

If you have been “leading with the chin,” as they say in boxing, by asking “Is this a good time,” then try using the above scripting instead and I’ll bet you’ll get further than you are now. Plus, you’ll still be using a more courteous approach rather than just delivering a two-paragraph pitch (which is always annoying).

One last note: feel free to adapt the scripts above to match your own personality. Make it your own, and you’re likely to use it a lot more.

Three Ways to Handle the Price is Too High Objection

Are you still ad-libbing a response to the “your price is too high,” objection?

This is perhaps the oldest objection in the world, I mean think about it: In ancient Egypt (4,000+ years ago), at the open markets with all the vendors at their stalls selling everything from food to clothing to pots and pans, when a buyer asked how much an item was and was told the price, what do you think he/she automatically said?

“That’s way too much money for that!”

Sound familiar? Let’s face it, buyers have been using this objection way before you or your father or great grandfather got into sales, and you’d think that by now we’d all know how to effectively handle it. Some do, but with all the calls I listen to, there are still plenty of sales reps and companies that don’t…

So here are the best practice responses to the age old budget question or objection. Write these down, customize them so you are comfortable with them, and start moving past this objection once and for all.

Technique One: Avoid this objection from every coming up. What, you didn’t qualify for budget on your first call? This is a rookie mistake, and one that you need to fix right away. If you’re still getting the price objection when you’re presenting your product or solution, then that’s on you.

What you need to do is find a natural way to prequalify for budget as part of your qualifying questions. You know, the questions about decision making process, timeline, etc. Here are a few ways to do that:

“And {first name}, our solution ranges from $4,000 to $15,000 depending on the options you want. Is that range within a budget you have – again, if you like what you see?”

OR

“{first name}, I’m assuming you have a budget for this type of thing – if you feel that this will help you (do whatever it is your product or service does), right?

“And most of our new customers go for our premium package at $25,000 – is that something you could fit into your budget if this were a fit for you?”

There are many, many other ways to qualify for budget – if you need more, search this blog or pick up one of my books of phone scripts.

Technique Two: This is one of the easiest rebuttals to use, and I’m continually surprised more reps don’t automatically use it. The technique both challenges your prospect and helps you learn more about their buying process (and your possible competition) at the same time. It goes like this:

“Compared to what?”

And then hit your mute button and let them talk and reveal the way back into the close…

Technique Three: Here’s a way to isolate the price objection to make sure it’s the real and only objection there is. Nothing is more discouraging than overcoming it and then being told there are three more reasons they won’t buy.

“And besides price, what else would stop you from moving forward today?”

This is designed to draw out other objections. You can make it more positive by asking:

“And if the price were exactly where you’d want it, is everything else about our (product or service) okay? I mean, would you feel comfortable enough to take advantage of it today?”

As many of you know, I’m big on being prepared for the repeatable selling situations and objections you get day in and day out. This is what separates the top producers from everyone else, and it’s what makes sales easy and even enjoyable.

And let’s face it, an objection that has been around 4,000+ years is definitely a repeatable one.

Cold Calling: Stop Pitching the Gatekeeper

Note on today’s blog post: Due to the many requests I have received for more scripts on selling techniques, I am postponing my series on motivation and awareness. I hope you enjoy today’s cold calling tip.

I was talking with a client last week about some of his new employees. He told me that some of them are struggling to get through to decision makers, and he thought it was because they were “pitching the gatekeeper.” I listened to some of his calls, and he was right!

Here is the mistake: Many sales reps have never been taught the proper way to deal with gatekeepers, so after being screened out by them, they take the attitude that “If only they (the gatekeeper) knew how much this would benefit the (decision maker), then they’d put me through!” So they start pitching them….

How wrong that is…

Let’s recap the role of the receptionist/gatekeeper: The receptionist’s job is to answer calls and route them to the right person. They are trained to gather the information needed to give to the person they are transferring the call to, things like, name, company name, and sometimes, what the call is about.

Now here is something many sales reps misunderstand: The receptionist’s role is not to pry and grill and interrogate people who call in. They will only do this if the caller telegraphs him/herself as a salesperson. And many frustrated reps signal this by:

  • Only giving your first name and trying to trick the receptionist by pretending to be a “friend” of the person you’re trying to reach.
  • Not giving your company name. (May reps try to hide the fact they are calling from a company. This only arouses suspicion and raises a Red Flag.)
  • Not having a scripted approach to the question: “Will he/she know what this call is about?”
  • Not being polite and using the magic words: “Please” and “Thank You”
  • Not using an instructional statement.

Let me say this again: for the most part, receptionists, gatekeepers, etc., are not there to screen you out. They are there to capture basic information and then pass the call through. Notice I said, “for the most part.” There are certainly exceptions (in small offices, etc.) where they make it their job to screen you out, but you can still get past many of them as well if you use the best practice approach below.

Here is the script I was using as recently as last week to get through to some high powered decision makers. It works:

Gatekeeper: “XYZ company, how can I help you?”

YOU: “Hi, may I speak with {first name}, please?” (Say this with a bright, warm smile in your voice. Be confident and friendly.

Gatekeeper: “And what is your name please?”

YOU: “Please, tell him that {Your first & last name} is calling, please.”

Gatekeeper: “And may I tell him the company you are calling from?”

YOU: “Yes, please! Please tell him {Your first & last name again} with the {Your company name} is holding please.”

Again, smile, be friendly and confident. If you follow this exact script, you’ll get through 60% of the time without any further screening.

If they ask: “And what is this call regarding?”

YOU respond: “Please tell him/her it’s about {whatever your call is about – ‘His/her lead flow’}, and I’m happy to hold, please…”

Did you notice the “pleases”? How about the instructional statements? Did you notice the exact order?

These techniques will get you past the gatekeeper – without any further screening – over 75% of the time. Don’t believe me? Try it for a week (not just one or two calls!).

What doesn’t work is pitching the gatekeeper. That only identifies you as a sales person, and in many cases you start begging them to put you through. And that’s the last person they will put through – a begging sales person.

So, make a commitment to yourself this week and begin using this proven technique. You’ll be surprised by how many decision makers you begin getting through to.