7 Tips for Bypassing Gatekeepers in Commercial Services Sales

Gatekeepers often block access to crucial decision-makers.

Misunderstanding their role or choosing the wrong approach can make you miss vital opportunities and waste your efforts. By employing proven tactics, sales reps spend less time calling and more time selling to the right person.

Let’s explore tips for getting past gatekeepers in commercial services sales. 

Understanding the role of gatekeepers

The gatekeeper helps prioritize requests and appointments. Understanding the role is the first step in getting through to the decision-maker. 

Building Managers, procurement leaders, and property owners have to juggle a lot throughout the day, so they hire someone to help manage their workload, answer calls, and schedule appointments. They are usually administrative assistants or receptionists for higher-level decision-makers. 

Gatekeepers exist to protect and streamline the decision-maker’s time. However, they don’t block every call that could help their boss or the company.

1. Build rapport and establish trust

Instead of viewing gatekeepers as obstacles, see them as key players. Building a positive relationship with them can make all the difference in gaining access to decision-makers.

A gatekeeper considers their relationship with a salesperson before providing access to the decision maker. They’ll prioritize sales reps they have a positive relationship with. Sellers must work to establish a healthy rapport with gatekeepers.

Encourage sales reps to do preliminary research on social media to get professional background information about the company and its structure. Then, personalize the sales pitch with details relevant to the gatekeeper, the contact, or the company.

Building rapport is about authentic connection. Sales reps who invest time in understanding and valuing gatekeepers and their companies find their path to decision-makers becomes much smoother.

2. Craft a compelling elevator pitch

Communicating value quickly and concisely is key, especially to gatekeepers. 

The elevator pitch is a brief yet persuasive approach to grabbing a gatekeeper’s attention. It sets the stage for deeper engagement. 

For example, Sara perfected her elevator pitch: “In just 30 seconds, let me show you how our building automation software can reduce your building’s energy costs  efficiency by 25%, backed with case studies to prove it from companies like yours.” When she delivers this pitch to gatekeepers, they often perk up, curious to learn more.

Crafting a solid elevator pitch is more than just stringing words together. It’s the beginning of the sales process to lock in a final agreement.

Bonus elevator pitch template:

“Hello, {Gatekeeper’s Name}. In {specific short timeframe}, let me explain how {your product/service} can offer {specific outcome}, just as it did for {similar company or industry reference}.”

3. Leverage referrals and introductions

When someone you know tells you about a product, you’re more likely to buy it. According to Statista, nearly 90 percent of respondents trust word-of-mouth recommendations.

In commercial services sales, help from a mutual contact breaks down barriers faster.

For example, let’s say you spot a mutual connection on LinkedIn—Jack from a past collaboration. You ask Jack to introduce you, and he agrees, sharing a positive experience about your service.

With Jack’s introduction, your call or email to the lead isn’t just another pitch—it carries John’s endorsement. This association boosts your credibility immediately.

What’s better? The Convex platform provides access to LinkedIn profiles for your target contacts. You can access it directly through the platform to look up affiliations. There’s no forgetting to open or switch between windows.

By leveraging mutual connections, you gain an edge. A simple referral can put you miles ahead in building trust.

4. Persistence with professionalism

Don’t let a few failed attempts take the wind out of your sails. Only 10 percent of salespeople make the fifth call, and 80 percent of sales happen after the fifth sales call. Part of that includes coping with gatekeepers.

If a gatekeeper turns down a request to talk with a decision maker, they may say, “Not right now.” When sales reps hear “right now,” it’s not a no; it’s a green light for a callback, and you’re welcome to try again.

Use any clues you can from the call. If they’re rushing you off the call, end it quickly by stating, “I’ll try at a better time.” If they’re not in a hurry, ask, “How’s tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. instead?” A specific time is easier for them to consider. It also lets them know you’re serious about having a conversation.

Persistence isn’t limited to calls. A friendly email might be easier for prospects to respond. It also gives you a chance to explain the purpose of the call. Especially if the gatekeeper tells you “not right now”, because they don’t know you.

After a sales rep ends the call, following up with friendly and sincere outreach demonstrates ongoing interest. For example, depending on the interaction, try sending a LinkedIn connection request. Encourage sales reps to add a reminder to follow up on the previous conversation and attach call notes.

It proves you respect the gatekeeper’s timeline and are serious about the sale.

5. Use multiple communication channels

Using diverse communication methods amplifies a salesperson’s reach.

Using email and social media together, such as initiating contact through email and engaging on LinkedIn, helps your message stand out in a crowded inbox.

Using multiple communication channels like email and linkedin optimizes outreach, because gatekeepers can better distinguish a message from the usual inbox noise. Businesses that adopt a multichannel marketing strategy experience a 91 percent higher yearly customer retention rate.

Each channel, from emails to phone calls and social media, offers unique benefits for connection. Harnessing multiple channels and integrating CRM tools ensures reps get the most out of every lead. 

Adding CRM tools to this mix helps reps track interactions and optimize follow-ups.

6. Provide value in every interaction

Every interaction between a sales rep and a potential client, including gatekeepers, should offer value. To stand out, each touchpoint must be positive and helpful, no matter how brief.

Consider Jill, a sales rep trying to reach a busy prospect. Instead of just asking for a meeting, Jill sends a concise email focusing on new greenhouse gas emissions requirements affecting buildings in the area. She briefly notes how her service can help comply with these new standards. This isn’t just a sales pitch—it’s valuable, industry-specific information.

In this case, Jill shows her awareness of the industry and positions herself as a trusted advisor rather than a seller. The gatekeeper or decision-maker is likely to engage because she offers immediate value and shows investment in their success.

Aim to provide value, not just make contact. By doing so, sales reps strengthen their pitch and build trust and credibility from the onset.

7. Bypass the gatekeeper entirely

Sometimes, the best strategy is to circumvent the gatekeeper altogether. Modern solutions and tactics enable direct engagement with decision-makers.

Leveraging direct messaging on platforms like LinkedIn, attending industry events where decision-makers are present, and using email to attract a target audience are all strategies to bypass gatekeepers.

However, the leading choice is Convex’s Atlas. It’s a shortcut that gives commercial services sales teams direct access to the right people at properties at the right time. These methods aren’t about evasion but efficiency. They ensure your message reaches the right ears without barriers.

With Convex, you can tap into valuable buyer intent data. This data allows commercial services sales teams to identify organizations and sites actively researching services and solutions for their buildings.

The Convex platform offers precise targeting for critical decision-makers. Convex helps commercial services sales teams reach the facility director or other property decision-makers.

Most customers like this solution because they don’t have to engage a gatekeeper.

Conclusion: Use Convex to reach stakeholders fast

Navigating the world of gatekeepers requires a multifaceted approach. From understanding their pivotal role in protecting their decision-maker’s time to building authentic rapport, the key is communicating value succinctly and genuinely.

Leveraging strong elevator pitches, referrals, persistent outreach, diverse communication channels, and offering consistent value can significantly enhance a salesperson’s chances of reaching their target. 

However, bypassing the gatekeeper with innovative solutions like Convex’s Atlas ensures gatekeepers don’t keep your message from finding its mark. Embracing these strategies empowers sales teams to think about gatekeepers as partners in their journey to connect with decision-makers.

Schedule a demo to discover how Convex makes reaching the right people more effortless than ever before.

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Originally published on October 26, 2023 Updated on October 27, 2023

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