As a managed service provider (MSP), you must spend time getting new customers, but what happens when you cannot get a meeting with the decision makers? Getting past the gatekeeper, or sometimes gatekeepers, can be difficult… but it’s not impossible.
Here are some tips for getting that meeting.
My mother always said, "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." This statement rings true when dealing with gatekeepers. They are just doing their job, and in most cases, don’t actually enjoy this part of it. Therefore, they probably have a negative predisposition to dealing with you on the phone. If you show interest in them and not just getting past them, you should see greater success. If you have called several times, try to create rapport with them. Generally, persistence counts, and if they remember you as a pleasant person, your chances of getting them on your side should increase.
You should not pitch to them; they do not make the decision. Do not talk past them; they may not let you in if you do not respect them as people first. Many of these gatekeepers reject more calls in a day than you will make, so they probably have more experience in this "negotiation" than you do.
So many solicitors call to try and sell something; find out if the company you’re calling needs what you are selling before you try to get past them. Many gatekeepers are put there deliberately, and are armed with enough information to only let the right people in. This does not mean they reject all salespeople, it means you must pre-qualify with the gatekeeper to get past them. Because these gatekeepers are prepared to filter you, they likely have information that will be helpful for you. I have found you can have great conversations with them if you simply aim to pre-qualify each other. They will often appreciate that you are doing the same thing they are, determining if your company has value for their company.
Professional gatekeepers are hired to sniff out the truth. Do not think you can fake your way in.
As I said previously, persistence counts. Over time, you build rapport with people and they tend to let their guard down. Time also lends to credibility, proving you are not just a one-off telemarketer.
In the end, manners matter, so you should treat the gatekeeper with respect. Let them help you determine if your services are a fit for their business. At the same time, gather as much information from them as you can for your next call. If you start your next call reviewing what you discussed last time, it shows preparedness and consistency on your part, both great qualities in an MSP.
Eric Anthony is principal of customer experience at SolarWinds MSP. Before joining SolarWinds, Eric ran his own managed service provider business for over six years.
You can follow Eric on Twitter at @EricAnthonyMSP
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