When I called to reconnect with a CEO I met at a conference, and who had invited me to contact her, her assistant, Joan, answered the phone. Joan asked me the purpose of my call. I told her where I’d met her boss and who’d introduced us. Then I mentioned the name of my company, which made Joan laugh.
After putting me on hold for a minute, Joan told me the CEO was unavailable but wanted to talk to me. I gave her my phone number and thought the conversation was over, but I guess my area of expertise struck a chord with Joan, who proceeded to tell me story after story of the calls she receives.
Joan said many cold callers lie and tell her the CEO asked them to call. Most are cocky; others are downright rude; and some try to lay on the charm. A lot of them keep calling and calling, hoping to eventually get past her. But the CEO is a busy woman, and Joan is good at her job. So these duplicitous cold callers always reach her, not her boss.
Joan and other gatekeepers can smell phoniness a mile away. Think you’re getting away with cold calling and pretending you’re best buddies with your prospect? Newsflash: You’re not fooling anybody.
Then Joan and I talked about the power of a referral introduction. That’s genuine. That’s real. The connection is immediate, and Joan is on your side. The gatekeeper has left the building.
When you have a referral, you’ll never have to use duplicitous tactics to bypass the gatekeeper. Instead, that secretary or assistant will welcome your call. No lies necessary.
The CEO called me back within 15 minutes, and we agreed on next steps.
The moral of the story: Referred prospects always make time to talk to salespeople who’ve been introduced by someone they know and trust. And their gatekeepers—those invaluable people who enable execs to do their jobs—will be happy to patch you through.
What is the sleaziest “gatekeeper tactic” you’ve ever used, or heard someone else use?